â€œHouston is Americaâ€™s fourth-largest city, one of the worldâ€™s busiest international ports, an epicenter for energy, medical and agri-business. Houston is the ideal location for an US International Trade Center and that is what our Center is all about. The International Trade Center of Houston (ITC) brings together business leaders, government policy makers, legal practitioners, and international companies with the goal of sharing knowledge, building consensus, and resolving logistical trade issues and providing marketing opportunities,â€ said Mr. Wea Lee, Founder of ITC, as he welcomed guests to the Regular Monthly Luncheon of ITC.
This monthsâ€™ ITC Luncheon was organized in partnership with the Pakistan Chamber of Commerce â€“ USA (PCC-USA) and main theme was â€œInvestment in Energy Sector: Opportunities in Pakistanâ€. Keynote speaker was Aqil Nadeem, the Consul General of Pakistan in Houston. Also in attendance were Dr. Zia Ahmed, Commercial-AttachÃ© Government of Pakistan at Houston Pakistan Consulate; President and Board Members of PCC-USA and ITC; and several dignitaries of Houston.
Program started with playing of documentary about Pakistan and sumptuous Pakistani luncheon. â€œPakistan has a large and growing domestic market as it is a country of over 170 million people with a large and growing middle-income bracket. Pakistan has abundant land, natural and strong human resources and is strategically located to serve as a regional hub with land and sea routes reaching out to Central and East Asia, India, Afghanistan, Iran, China and the Persian Gulf,â€ informed Mr. Nadeem.
He further said: â€œTo tackle the serious issue of Power, Pakistan plans to increase its power generation capacity to 162,590-mw in the next 25 years from the current 19,540-mw to sustain its current GDP growth rate. â€œPakistan is blessed with an enormous wealth of Water, Coal and Gas and it can become an energy corridor for the region. There is no doubt that if untapped reserves of Coal and Hydropower are exploited expeditiously, Pakistan can overcome the current shortfall and achieve self reliance in power generation. A $12.6 billion Bhasha Dam has been approved only (a weeks ago), which will be completed in seven years. The 25-year Energy Security Plan envisages increase in all possible sources of energy including hydel, thermal, coal, nuclear and alternative sources. Foreign direct investment in these mega projects is the cornerstone of this plan. We are confident that with this incentive regime, Foreign Direct Investment would flow in the proposed power projects. The wind energy generation is in pretty advance stage in Texas and Texas based companies due to their expertise in wind energy sector can immensely benefit from investment opportunities in Pakistan. Similarly opportunities exist for investment in solar energy. Solar energy has exceptional potential in areas of Pakistan that receive high levels of solar radiation throughout the year.â€
Before his presentation, Saeed Sheikh, President of PCC-USA, talked about the significance of the partnership between ITC and PCC-USA. Talking about the topic the day, Mr. Sheikh said: â€œIn order to contribute towards energy sector development of Pakistan, PCC-USA has constituted an Energy Team, which is presently working on proposals, including one for the promotion and development of Wind Power Projects in Pakistan. This entails evaluating the prospects of setting up a model Wind Power Project, on a Commercial Basis, and as Joint Venture between a North American Developer and Multiple Pakistani Companies. The project will aim to transfer the Development, Management and Technological Expertise of Wind Power Projects from North America to Pakistan.â€
â€œSlightly digressing from our topic of the day; let me inform you about great investment possibilities in IT sector in Pakistan. Due to superior infrastructure facilities (and vast talent), Pakistan is fast emerging as the destination of choice for IT outsourcing (for various reasons). Pakistan is also giving equal attention to nuclear energy and currently has two nuclear power plants, Chashma-1 and Kanupp, with 300 MW and 125 MW respectively of installed capacity, which is around 2.4% of the countryâ€™s electricity generation. The Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission operates both nuclear plants. Pakistan is currently working on a third nuclear power plant (Chashma-2), with the help of China National Nuclear Corporation. The plant will have 325 MW of installed capacity and could be completed by 2009. In June 2008 the government announced plans to build units 3 and 4 at Chashma, each 320-340 MW and costing $1.6 billion, 1billion of this would come from international sources, principally China. A further agreement for Chinaâ€™s help with the project has been signed last month, and construction is likely to start in 2009. Due to certain political reasons, international assistance in nuclear energy, however, is very limited,â€ added Aqil Nadeem, the Consul General of Pakistan in Houston.
For all the future activities of PCC-USA, one can call 281-948-1840 or E-Mail: President@PCC-USA.Org