BEIJING – The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has a portfolio of projects in different provinces of Pakistan, depending on their needs and areas of expertise.
And based on different comparative advantages, each province will develop its own cluster of industries, Federal Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in an exclusive interview with China Economic Net (CEN). As the minister said, such a portfolio will bring more investment and create more job opportunities for young people in this province.
Take the example of Balochistan. The CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) focuses on the development of Gwadar, where it also provides – in addition to developing port infrastructure – facilities for medical care, education, technical education and livelihoods. subsistence of the inhabitants. “We are also working to provide drinking water to the people of Gwadar as well as a power station to generate electricity in the region,” Ahsan Iqbal added. “CPEC connects Pakistan to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And through the BRI and CPEC, Pakistan can be linked more easily to global supply chains,” the minister pointed out. Currently, many jobs are being relocated from China to countries where cheaper labor is available. And Pakistan with CPEC connectivity has a very good opportunity to absorb most of this relocation.
“We hope that when the special economic zones in each province are ready, they will attract considerable investment in the relocation of Chinese industry, which will bring more employment opportunities to the region and also help Pakistan to progress on industrialization plan,” added Ahsan Iqbal. .
In the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA-II), China has reduced tariffs for Pakistan to zero on 313 high-priority tariff lines. The new FTA, noted the Minister, offers more opportunities to promote trade between the two countries.
Federal Planning Minister eyes increased cooperation between Pakistani and Chinese companies in coming years
However, the challenge faced by Pakistani businessmen and companies is to enter China with more information and knowledge about its market. Traditionally, Pakistani companies did business with Europe and the United States and had little knowledge of the Chinese market. But now chambers of commerce and industry are guided and encouraged to cooperate more closely with their Chinese counterparts.
“In my view, in the years to come there will be greater cooperation between Pakistani and Chinese companies,” the minister said. And this is very promising in the light of CPEC’s long-term plan which envisages cooperation in all dimensions of the economy, from agriculture, industry, technology, services, education, health, etc
“We hope this cooperation will blossom fully in all fields and there will be greater connectivity between China and Pakistan,” Ahsan Iqbal told CEN. However, “we must be aware that there are some forces which are enemies of CPEC, which do not want CPEC to go forward,” the minister said. While strongly condemning the terrorist attack on a Confucius Institute shuttle at the University of Karachi last month, he said that the government has drawn up a strategy for greater coordination among all security agencies and organizations to to provide rock-solid security to Chinese people working on CPEC projects. .
The minister noted that the best way to defeat these forces is not to let such an incident affect the speed of CPEC and further increase the implementation of CPEC so that they receive the message that through such cowardly acts, they will not be able to stop CPEC’s progress.