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CPEC: Optimizing economic potential!

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Shaheen-VII joint exercise

BEIJING: Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid has said that the government was pursuing a three-pronged approach to optimize Pakistan’s economic potential during the medium term of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.
First, a number of industrial parks and special economic zones (SEZs) were being developed under CPEC and a range of favorable preferential policies for foreign investors was under consideration.
“We believe these SEZs and industrial parks would accelerate industrialization and contribute to skills development, technology upgrade, and good-quality employment,” he said in an interview with Global Times, one of leading English newspapers in China.
Second, Pakistan was working with the Chinese friends on Phase II of the bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which would enhance market access to Pakistani products.
Third, the government was committed to enacting deep and meaningful reforms to improve efficiency in all aspects of public life. There was a complementary focus on increasing transparency, accountability and the use of technology to promote a conducive business environment.
“Taken together with Pakistan’s large and increasingly affluent consumer market, this three-tiered approach – viz attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into industrial projects, negotiating favorable market access and focusing on reform and efficiency – could maximize Pakistan’s potential as a trading nation,” he added.
Ambassador Khalid said Pakistan had natural advantages in textiles, sports goods, IT services, and surgical instruments. Agriculture was another important area where Pakistan has distinct advantages.
Pakistan also had a large skilled workforce and a growing pool of engineers and scientists. Complementing these factors was the CPEC, which had made good progress in recent years.
CPEC has led to the development of supporting infrastructure such as energy and transportation networks that are essential for sustained growth.
Commenting on opportunities Pakistan could explore after China International Import Expo (CIIE) at Shanghai, he said the first CIIE was significant for three reasons: “First, it demonstrates China’s readiness to share the benefits of its stellar economic growth with the rest of the world. Second, it reflects the appreciation that a sustainable and mutually beneficial trade is always a two-way street. Third, it rebuts claims that the momentum of China’s reform and opening-up was slowing down.”
He said as an annual event, the CIIE would enable enhanced access to the Chinese market for all participating nations. “As China’s economic growth continues and demand for imported products rises further, the CIIE will multiply opportunities for foreign enterprises in the vast and discerning Chinese market.”
About people to people bonds between the two all-weather friends, he said, China and the Chinese people had always had a special place in Pakistani consciousness.
“The deep-rooted sincerity and goodwill among our peoples provide the firm bedrock that has allowed Pakistan-China relations to develop along an ever-upward trajectory, irrespective of changes in the regional or international situation.”
About efforts to further enhance cooperation, he said, Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent visit to China was in keeping with the time-honored tradition of frequent exchanges at the highest levels that had always characterized Pakistan-China ties.
Premier Li Keqiang, Pakistan and China agreed to enhance our All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership for Shared Future in the New Era. This underscored both sides’ shared resolve to take the relationship from strength to strength.
The joint statement that was issued at the conclusion of the prime minister’s visit to China provides a comprehensive framework of the leadership consensus on enhancing Pakistan-China cooperation.
Under this framework, both Pakistan and China had agreed to make concerted efforts to promote the cherished friendship.
In the context of the Belt and Road initiative, for instance, it was agreed that ongoing CPEC projects would be completed as per timelines and special emphasis would be placed on realizing CPEC’s potential for Pakistan’s socio-economic development and employment generation.
It was also agreed to accelerate agricultural and industrial cooperation. In the social sector, Pakistan admires the Chinese success in lifting hundreds of millions out of poverty in such a short span of time.
He said the government of Pakistan was keen to learn from the Chinese experience of targeted poverty alleviation and livelihood improvement. People-to-people exchanges are another focus area for our cooperation.
“Both sides correctly appreciate the importance of preserving and perpetuating the time-tested friendship between the peoples of Pakistan and China.”
Turning to education, Pakistan had one of the largest populations of foreign students in China. There were around 25,000 Pakistani students enrolled at institutions of higher learning across China.
“Similarly, we will foster closer collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese universities and technical and vocational training institutions,” he added.
On the world stage, both countries also agreed to strengthen coordination on all regional and international issues of importance. Pakistan and China had a longstanding tradition of close communication.
Pakistan-China relations had always served as a pillar of peace and stability in the region and beyond. Going forward, both sides were committed to ensuring close and effective cooperation in international affairs.
Ambassador Khalid said there were only a few of the measures being taken under the aegis of the upgraded All-Weather Partnership.
“We look forward to working closely with our Chinese friends in the months and years ahead to implement our leaderships’ shared vision of this relationship for the benefit of our nations,” he added.

 

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Making writing instruments industry vibrant

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ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on commerce, Textile, Industries, Production, and Investments Abdul Razak Dawood today said all necessary measures would be taken to make the writing instruments industry competitive and vibrant so that it could meet the local demands as well as exports.
A delegation of Writing Instruments Association called on him and discussed issues faced by the local writing instruments industry, a press release said.
They informed that the smuggling through Afghan Transit Trade is hurting the domestic stationary industry particularly pencil manufacturing, The delegation further urged that regulatory duties may be imposed on the import of pencils so that local industry is protected.
The adviser assured the industry representatives that a level playing field would be provided to the domestic industry. “National Tariff Policy is going to fix tariff anomalies besides protecting local industry” he added.

 

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

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Tokyo stocks gain on bargain-hunting

TOKYO: Tokyo stocks gained slightly on Monday as investors bought on dips following a sharp decline late last week, while their focus shifted ahead of a US Federal Reserve meeting.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index, which dropped more than two percent on Friday, rose 0.62 percent or 132.05 points to close at 21,506.88, while the broader Topix index was up 0.13 percent or 2.04 points at 1,594.20. “Buy-back was seen among shares in major companies following a sharp decline on Friday,” Daiwa Securities senior technical analyst Hikaru Sato told AFP. “But the buy-back was not strong enough to boost shares further,” Sato said, adding that it may take more time to improve market sentiment.
Takashi Hiroki, the chief strategist at Monex, said the two-day US Fed meeting that ends on Wednesday is “the most important event this week” and investors are watching for the pace of rate hikes in 2019. “Falls in US shares (last week) is said to be caused by weak economic data in China and Europe, but these are not new factors,” he said in a commentary, adding that current market sentiment is vulnerable to “even the slightest worries given the prevailing uncertainty”.
In Tokyo, SoftBank’s initial public offering on Wednesday will also likely have an impact on the market, analysts said. The dollar fetched 113.51 yen in Asian afternoon trade against 113.29 yen in New York late Friday. Banks were higher, with Mitsubishi UFJ trading up 0.13 percent to 583.9 yen, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial up 0.56 percent at 3,939 yen and Mizuho Financial up 0.22 percent at 179.7 yen. Nissan was down 0.27 percent at 929.9 yen ahead of its board meeting to discuss corporate governance and choosing a replacement for former chairman Carlos Ghosn, after his arrest and dismissal. Rival Toyota was up 0.16 percent at 6,840 yen but Honda was down 0.13 percent at 3,050 yen.

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Govt to promote Pak. furniture sector

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LAHORE: Prime Minister’s Advisor on Commerce, Textile and Industrial Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said here today the government would provide all possible support and resources for the promotion of Pakistan’s furniture sector.

Advisor pointed towards formulating a comprehensive strategy in coordination with stakeholders to also ensure its exports. He expressed these views while talking to media during his visit to the 10th Interiors Pakistan Exhibition organized by Pakistan Furniture Council (PFC) here at the Expo Centre. PFC Chief Executive Officer Mian Kashif Ashfaq and Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) President Almas Hyder were also present.
Abdul Razak added the government was taking all possible measures to promote ‘Made in Pakistan’ products at local and international markets and special incentive packages would be given to strengthening manufacturing in furniture sector to boost the exports.
He also appreciated PFC for holding successful exhibition without having the support of the government, citing, “PFC deserves appreciation for promoting the culture of local brands to strengthen the national economy.”
To a question, the Advisor said that the country’s economy would improve in the months to come as Pakistani products were being exported mainly due to timely policies of the present government. He said that with this exhibition, people would also come to know about the quality and designs of the products manufactured by Pakistani artists.
He said that Pakistan’s furniture sector had progressed to a certain level however there was a lot of efforts yet to be done as the sector had great potential.
Abdul Razak Dawood said that workers of this industry have great skills and potential and if used properly, Pakistan could become the best exporter of furniture. He said that with the development of the furniture industry, it would be easy to meet local and international needs.
To another question, he said the government was all committed for jobs creation for the youth and it could not be done overnight, as it would take time, and with the increased exports and vibrant export-oriented industry would help create job opportunities. He said the government was also discussing ways and means to overcome the balance of payment issue and remove all economic ills.
Earlier, the Advisor to the Prime Minister visited various stalls of the exhibition. He praised the workmanship, quality, and design of the various items put on display.
On this occasion, PFC Chief Mian Kashif Ashfaq expressed his gratitude for visiting exhibition as chief guest at the concluding ceremony. He also assured the advisor that the business community of the country would provide its full support to the government towards implementing its reforms agenda and overcoming the current economic challenges.
He said that PFC was playing its due role efficiently for promoting furniture brands not only in the country but also abroad by displaying world-class innovative designs suit to the aesthetic sense of buyers. He said Pakistan has good potential to enhance furniture exports to the USA and Europe by developing good brands and business community should focus on the branding of products to promote business activities and improve exports.
Mian Kashif said, “We need policies to protect the furniture sector so that we can grow in the correct manner. We currently cannot compete with the Chinese market because of their prices which is largely due to the availability of skilled labor. ” China, for instance, has over a thousand technical schools, and enroll at least 11 million people with the support of their government to ensure they set up programs that will support the local industry,” he added.
He stressed the need for the government and the Pakistani people to increase their patronage of furniture products made by local industry. The PFC chief said furniture made in Chiniot meets more than 80 percent of the local demand. This, combined with the handicraft industry, is employing around 50,000 people, he said and added that if the local industry expands new opportunities of employment will generate.
At the closing ceremony, Abdul Razak Dawood presented certificates of participation to the stall holders, while PFC Chief Mian Kashif presented the Advisor with a shield.

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