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LAHORE: Chinese and Pakistani companies reached Intended Cooperation Agreements (ICA) worth US$34 million in different sectors including construction, engineering, manufacturing, technology transfer etc during recently concluded three-day Pakistan Industrial Expo 2021.

As per details, at least 9 Chinese companies are considering to have long-term development projects in Pakistani market as a result of interaction between both sides at the expo.

Encouraged from the results, organizer Everest International Expo, has also setup a 'permanent display center' in Lahore to showcase Chinese products for physical inspection by the local industry representatives before further negotiations between both the sides.

Despite the Covid-19 situation, Pakistan and China have been able to sustain a healthy economic and investment partnership and it is now high time to join hands for a much-needed economic and investment rebound. More than 100 Chinese companies participated in the 5th Pakistan Industrial Expo 2021 through both physical and online mode of participation.

This is the best possible solution to bring businesses from both countries together for rejuvenation of bilateral investment cooperation, said Chris Zhou, Deputy GM of Everest International Expo.

Numerous Pakistani associations and chambers visited the venue and signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the organizer.

These include Swabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Sargodha Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Sahiwal Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Peshawar Chamber of Small Traders & Small Industry, Larkana Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Bahawalpur Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Layyah Women Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

Online B2B meetings were arranged immediately once the visitors come to booths, they "face to face" talks and sharing business ideas. In this method, organizers minimized the impact of COVID-19.

And after exhibition, all sample products were shifted to a permanent display center situated in the provincial metropolis. It's open for all businessmen, and online B2B meeting will arrange with related manufacturers upon requests.

Previous 4 editions of Pakistan Industrial Expo attracted 31 Chinese companies who are cooperating with local ones for setting up of assembling plants, technology exchange etc.

Constructors Association of Pakistan (CAP) Chairman Engr Kamal Nasir Khan praised the organizers for arranging such an event in prevailing circumstances which would create a win-win situation both for Chinese and Pakistani businessmen.

He showed keen interest in the construction machinery placed in the exhibition and said Pakistani construction and real estate industry is showing positive trend and it needs modern machinery which can help bringing down the cost as well as ensuring longer life of constructed buildings.

Hardware Merchants Association's representatives Zeeshan Khalil and Nadeem Zafar also praised the machinery placed at the booth and said that Chinese products are no less than items manufactured by any other country.

Similarly, Daroghawala Industries Owners Association President Shouban Akhtar praised the offline-online method adopted by the organizers and said that it served the purpose of physical inspection and immediate negotiation between buyers and sellers.

Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has recommended to utilize Coal reservoirs to produce low cost electricity in Pakistan at the pattern of China. Wang Zihai, President, Ehsan Choudhry, SVP, Sarfaraz Butt, Vice President, Salahuddin Hanif Secretary General and the Executive Committee Members of PCJCCI, in its monthly Think Tank meeting have unanimously approved a recommendation for promoting Coal-based power generation plants in Pakistan.

Zihai informed that generally coal has four major categories; lignite, sub-bituminous, bituminous and anthracite. But most of its heating value is present in carbon content which is valuable in all aspects. Anthracite is top ranked coal, with highest carbon content that ranges between 86-98 percent and has a heat value of nearly 15,000 BTUs (British Thermal Units) per pound.

In the last five years Pakistan has aggressively pursued coal power under the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative as well as outside it, increasing coal-based capacity from negligible to 4,620 megawatts. With seven other coal-based projects under construction, the country expects to add 4,590 megawatts by the end of 2026, Zihai added.

Ehsan Choudhry, Senior Vice President PCJCCI shared his views by saying that, at present, our total coal reserves are estimated around 184.5 billion tonnes which include the lately discovered deposits of low sulphur coal at Thar.

Well-developed coal-fields are located in Punjab, Balochistan and Sindh, he said adding that we should explore coal and develop coal-fired power plants to not only lessen dependence on imported fuel but also to cut the cost of power production for the benefit of the industries, trade and individual consumers.

Sarfaraz Butt, Vice President PCJCCI said that in Pakistan the share of coal power during winter increases because of reduction in hydel generation and closure of gas-based plants due to the shortage of the fuel.

He pointed out that the share of coal power in the country's generation will likely double in the years to come as new plants come online over the next six years to end 2026.

Salahuddin Hanif, General Secretary PCJCCI said, "It is good for the economy of countries like Pakistan even though some may oppose coal power because of its potential impact on the environment.

But the coal power technology has improved a great deal and it no longer can be regarded dirty fuel when it comes to producing electricity from it. I would say coal is much cleaner fuel for electricity generation than furnace oil."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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