Sister-state relationship between California and Punjab: California State Senate

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LOS ANGELES: The California State Senate has passed a resolution to establish a sister-state relationship between California and Punjab till December 2026, it emerged on Wednesday.

According to a press release on the website of Assembly member Chris Holden, who introduced the resolution, the sister-state relationship between California and Punjab will "promote mutual trade and commerce and increase the potential for educational, environmental, and cultural relations", leading to a positive impact on both regions.

"Punjab's capital, Lahore, is a cultural, historical, economic, and cosmopolitan centre of Pakistan where the country's cinema industry and much of its fashion industry are based," the press release added.

It noted that agriculture is still the largest sector of Punjab's economy and a breadbasket for the country, similar to California's position in the US.

The resolution was read out by Senator Sydney Kamlager and was passed by a majority of 36 votes with four members absent from the session.

Pakistan's Consul General in Los Angeles, Abdul Jabbar Memon, said the resolution will open a "new era of cooperation between the two states in multiple domains of mutual interest".

Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar thanked the US state for formally establishing the relationship.

Reacting to the development on Twitter, Sarwar termed it a "great outcome" of his visit to the US last year during which, he said, the resolution was introduced in the California State Assembly.

He also shared a video of when the resolution was introduced.

A draft of the bill stated that more than 250,000 Punjabi Americans reside in California, many of whom initially settled in the state's central valley for agricultural work.

Meanwhile, Pakistani American businessman and entrepreneur, Dilawar Syed, has been appointed US State Department's new special representative for commercial and business affairs, the department's spokesman announced on Tuesday.

"Special Representative Syed brings a strong background in business and entrepreneurship, having built global enterprises in the fields of technology, healthcare, and business services," the announcement said.

US President Joe Biden (L) and US State Department's new Special Representative for Commercial and Business Affairs Dilawar Syed (R). — APP
Syed immigrated to the United States from Pakistan as a college student to attend the College of Wooster in Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in economics and computer science from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Business Administration from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Syed has been an entrepreneur for 20 years; he has built and run companies in the fields of software, consumer, and now healthcare and artificial intelligence. He was the president of Freshworks, where he helped scale the software company's products to thousands of small and medium businesses.

"Special Representative Syed will also draw on his experience working at the federal and state levels to advance commercial and economic policies that benefit American workers and businesses," the State Department said.

In the Obama administration, it said, he played an active role in promoting the State Department's Global Entrepreneurship Programme and connecting Silicon Valley innovators with emerging entrepreneurial ecosystems.

As the founding chair of the California Entrepreneurship Task Force, Special Representative Syed drove inclusive entrepreneurship that bridged coastal regions with the state's rural heartland and helped small businesses struggling with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"Serving in the State Department's Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, the special representative for commercial and business affairs advances trade, commercial, and economic policies for America's workers and the middle-class to help create well-paying jobs and strengthen our communities," the announcement said.

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