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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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Asian markets mixed as investors eye trade talks

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HONG KONG: Asian markets were mixed Tuesday with investors cautiously optimistic that China and the US can reach a deal ending their trade war as the two sides prepare to resume talks this week.

With New York closed for a public holiday there were few catalysts to drive buying, though the release of Federal Reserve minutes on Wednesday will be pored over for an idea of the bank’s interest rate plans.

Top-level officials from the world’s two biggest economies will reconvene in Washington after a series of talks in Beijing last week, with the US side telling President Donald Trump they had been “very productive”.

The positive tone from the diplomats, and the president’s indication he could extend a deadline for agreement, boosted regional markets Monday, extending a 2019 rally fuelled by optimism about an end to the nearly year-long tariffs spat.

Tokyo finished 0.1 percent higher, Hong Kong dipped 0.3 percent in the afternoon and Shanghai closed fractionally up.

Sydney gained 0.3 percent, Singapore put on 0.2 percent and Taipei 0.2 percent, with Seoul and Wellington each off 0.2 percent. Manila fell while Mumbai and Jakarta were up.

 

 

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S. Korea resumes Iranian oil imports after five months

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SEJONG: South Korean companies imported US$101.2 million worth of Iranian crude last month, the first such move in five months, data showed Tuesday.

The January figure represents less than one-fifth of $539 million, the average monthly Iranian crude oil imports for the first seven months of 2018, according to the data from the Korea Customs Service.

South Korean companies stopped importing Iranian crude oil in September last year, two months before the United States reinstated all sanctions against Tehran after lifting restrictions following the 2015 landmark nuclear deal.

Still, the U.S. has allowed South Korea and seven other countries to continue to buy Iranian oil over the next six months. South Korea is the third-largest buyer of Iranian oil.

South Korean refiners and chemical firms had relied heavily on Iranian condensate for production of various petrochemical products thanks to a stable supply and price competitiveness.

Naphtha, a key raw material for petrochemicals, is derived from condensate.

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Saudi Arabia keen to strengthen trade relations with Pakistan: Fahad Al Bash

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Saudi Arabia keen to strengthen trade relations with Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Head of Saudi Business Delegation Eng. Fahad Al Bash here on Monday said that his country was keen to further strengthen trade relations with Pakistan as both states have huge potential to promote bilateral trade in many sectors.

He said a number of Pakistani products including value-added textile, surgical instruments, sports goods, food, Insurance & IT services and entertainment products could find good market in Saudi Arabia and it should focus on importing these products from Pakistan.

In an interview, he said “I want to express my heartfelt thanks to Prime Minister Imran Khan for his warm hospitality and want to thank the business community for welcoming us in the spirit of friendship. This trip will strengthen ties between our two countries as Saudi Arabia playing vital role for the growth of oil industry in Pakistan.”

He said both countries were enjoying unique and special relationship, expressing the hope that this trip to this brotherly country would further strengthen these ties.

“We’re proud of our deep-rooted ties with Pakistan”, he added.

“The Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman’s visit in Pakistan will help materialize numerous investment projects in Pakistan,” he said.

The delegate further highlighted, Saudi Arabia’s investment in Pakistan would reinforce investment from all over the world and with Saudi investment Pakistan will resume the trust of business communities in the world.

“We believed Pakistan is going to be a very important country in coming future and we want to be sure we are a part of it,” he added.

He said Saudis are keen to invest in Pakistan’s energy sector, particularly in renewable energy as there is huge investment opportunity for production of cheap energy to fulfill the growing local demand.

 

 

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