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.
China welcomes Imran Khan’s attendance in 2nd BRF in Beijing
BEIJING: China Tuesday welcomed Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attendance in the second Belt and Road Forum scheduled for April 25-27 and termed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as highly demonstrative project and set a good example for other projects under Belt and Road Initiative.
“We welcome Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attendance in the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said during his routine briefing held here.
He remarked that with concerted efforts of both China and Pakistan, the CPEC, a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative has delivered many tangible benefits to the people of two countries with concrete outcomes.
“We have every confidence to work with Pakistan to promote greater progress in this project to deliver greater benefits to our people,” he added.
The spokesperson observed that the CPEC was a highly demonstrative project and it set a good example for other projects under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, at the invitation of Chinese President, Xi Jinping, is scheduled to participate in the second edition of Belt and Road Forum.
He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation comprising federal ministers and other senior officials.
On the first day of the forum, he will attend the inaugural session of the forum and deliver a keynote speech at the plenary meeting of high-level dialogue.
He will also attend the state banquet to be hosted by President Xi Jinping in the honour of world leaders attending the BRF.
The prime minister along with other world leaders will attend the leaders’ roundtable sessions on the second day of the forum.
Pakistan highly values its ties with China: Hafeez Shaikh
ISLAMABAD: Yao Jing, Ambassador of People’s Republic of China, called on Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs in Islamabad on Monday.
Both sides discussed matters of bilateral interest and underscored the need for enhanced collaboration between the two countries in the areas of mutual benefit.
The Adviser informed the Ambassador that Pakistan highly values its ties with China, which is a sincere friend and has always supported Pakistan in difficult times.
He said that environment in Pakistan for foreign investment was conducive and Chinese businessmen should benefit from it to make investment in various sectors.
He conveyed that the government would facilitate Chinese investors by providing them all possible support to invest in Pakistan. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh deeply appreciated China’s role in the social and economic development of Pakistan.
Appreciating the steps taken by government of Pakistan for revival of economy, the Ambassador said that the Chinese investors wanted to invest in Pakistan and their confidence over the policies and leadership of Pakistan is getting increased.
He reiterated his government’s resolve to continue its support for early execution of various projects under CPEC.
The Ambassador also congratulated Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on assuming the portfolio of Adviser. The meeting discussed the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister of Pakistan to China and expressed the hope that the visit would further strengthen the existing multifaceted relations between the two neighbours.
Pak-China FTA to be signed on 28th April
ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing on Monday said that the Sino-Pak Free Trade Agreement (FTA) Phase II would be signed on 28th April.
Other important CPEC- related agreements will also be signed during China visit of the PM. He said the FTA had been finally concluded after eight years of negotiations and it would be inked by the commerce ministers of two countries during the visit of Pakistani prime minister.
Under the FTA-Phase II, Jing said, China would provide market access to 90% of Pakistani commodities at zero rated duty, while Pakistan would give China market access to 65% tariff lines.
He was addressing a press briefing here at the Chinese Embassy on the upcoming Second Belt and Road Forum to be held in Beijing from 25-27 April. The ambassador said world leaders, including heads of state and government from 37 countries, would attend the Forum’s roundtable summit, but Pakistan being a major partner of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was the most important of all.
“The Chinese Prime Minister and President are looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China where he will also hold bilateral meetings with the Chinese leadership to build more consensus on bilateral trade ties,” he added. The Chinese envoy pointed out that China wanted a more prosperous and developed Pakistan as what he said without sustainable development in the neighboring countries, China could not sustain its development.
He said under the CPEC’s industrial cooperation, the first Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Rashakai was going to be inaugurated during the current month where 20 factories would be set up initially. He assured that employment in the SEZs would be given to the local people and the latest technology would be transferred from China to Pakistan.
Cooperation in industrial and social sectors would be the main focus of the second phase of CPEC, he added. “There are six areas in the social sector, including education, health, agriculture, water, irrigation, and poverty alleviation in which around 26 new projects will be initiated in Pakistan,” he said.
The ambassador said two model villages would be built in Pakistan under the social sector cooperation of CPEC to uplift the living standard of low-income segments of the society. He said China was basically an agricultural country and it started its development journey with bringing reforms in the agriculture sector. It would now help Pakistan in revolutionizing its agricultural sector by linking it with the state of the art technology.
With respect to the multi-billion Railway ML1 project, the envoy said as its technical aspects had already been finalized, the project would hit the ground soon. He also invited the neighboring countries to become part of the mega-project as it was not only beneficial to China and Pakistan but also for the whole region. To a question, Jing said 11 out of 22 projects had already been completed while the work on the remaining was going fast. In total $19 billion had been invested by China on all the projects, $13 billion lent as commercial loans and $6 billion as a concessionary loan to be repaid by the Pakistani government in 25-30 years.
To a query regarding the Karachi Circular Railway, the Chinese envoy said the two sides were working on its financial model. Many options of the financial model, including build-operate-transfer (BOT), loaning, and financing from own resources, were under consideration, he added. Regarding investment in Gilgit-Baltistan, Yao Jing said China was eager to upgrade and develop tourists sites in the area to provide facilities to local as well as foreign tourists.