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Japan desires stronger economic ties; keen to strengthen Pakistan’s export base

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Pak-Japan Navies conduct joint exercises

ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan Kuninori Matsuda said he desired a stronger economic relationship between the two countries and was keen to help build Pakistan’s export base to help it meet challenges.

“I wish to upgrade our economic relations with greater involvement of the public and private sector for the mutual benefit of both the countries,” Ambassador Matsuda said at a reception hosted in honour of 10 Pakistani students, who were awarded the coveted MEXT scholarships by the Government of Japan to help them pursue higher education in their respected fields.

He said he came to Pakistan with three goals; the first of which was strengthening the economic ties. He said he wanted to further improve the quantum of trade between the two countries by involving public and private sectors for sustained economic ties.

In that regard, he said Japan was willing to work with Pakistan to boost its export competitiveness and diversification, besides strengthening its manufacturing base.

The ambassador, however, pointed to the several challenges in that respect and said there was a need to work together to make Pakistan’s export sectors strong, particularly its agriculture, textiles and auto industry.

He said Pakistan owing to its large population and location at the crossroads of Central Asia and the Middle East was a very lucrative market for foreign investors and he desired to bring in more Japanese investors to the country.

“We need to improve the domestic market and industries, and to make Pakistan a big export base,” Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda said.

The ambassador, who has recently arrived in Pakistan, said Japan would also like to see a more robust political dialogue between the government to government level and the academia of the two countries.

He said Pakistan was an important country of the region, and he was looking forward to the visit of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi to Japan in the near future.

Qureshi was scheduled to pay a four-day visit to Japan from February 24, however, it was postponed owing to the ongoing tension with India. A new date was being worked out with mutual consultations, the Foreign Office said.

 

 

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China welcomes Imran Khan’s attendance in 2nd BRF in Beijing

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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.

 

 

 

 

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Pakistan highly values its ties with China: Hafeez Shaikh

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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.

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Pak-China FTA to be signed on 28th April

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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.

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