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TEXT: The zones are not in any way restricted to Pakistani and Chinese investors only. Foreign companies have already started investing in SEZs.

Dutch multinational Akzo Nobel N.V., which is a globally known producer of paints and performance coatings, is one such company. Akzo Nobel has decided to set up a plant in Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Faisalabad. The venture entails an investment of US$ 24 million. Akzo Nobel plant will produce paints and coating products. It will be spread over an area of 30 acres. The facility will provide employment to 183 workers. Similarly, a British company, Strong Stitch Ltd is investing US$ 8.5 million to set up a textile plant in Allama Iqbal Industrial City. Faisalabad is already a textile hub and provides extensive opportunities to textile entrepreneurs, as the inputs and skilled workforce is available in abundance. The Strong Stitch textile facility will produce value added textile products for exports purposes. It will be spread over an area of 30 acres and is expected to provide employment opportunities to more than 150 workers. A German company Alptak Ltd has also entered into joint venture with a Pakistani company to set up a plant in Faisalabad SEZ. The plant will produce Nitrile Gloves. Total investment envisaged in the venture is US$ 2 million. This plant will cover an area of 6 acres and employ 2500 workers. Various Chinese companies are also setting up industries in the CPEC SEZs. Century Steel is presently constructing a steel plant in Rashakai SEZ. This is the first unit to start construction in this SEZ. The products will include rebar, round steel, wire, wire rods, nails and trough steel. Once complete the unit is expected to employ 1000 workers. Zhangbang Agriculture, another Chinese company is establishing a unit to produce pesticide products, with an investment of US$ 8 million. The unit will employ more than 300 workers. Another Chinese company Green Crockery and Houseware is in the process of setting up a plant to produce crockery and sanitary products, with an investment of US$ 12 million, employing more than 350 workers. It can therefore be assumed that once fully developed and populated, the CPEC SEZs will be centers of international investment in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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