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ISLAMABAD: An inter-ministerial meeting on Joint Working Group (JWG) on industrial cooperation under CPEC has directed the Board of Investment (BoI) to make an aggressive marketing strategy to attract Chinese and other investors to relocate their respective industries to SEZs.

The meeting convened to strategize industrial cooperation unanimously decided that since the Pakistani side has made considerable progress with respect to the development of these SEZs; therefore, the Chinese side may be sensitized to help the developers to early populate these SEZs.

It was decided with the mutual consensus that Karachi Port Trust (KPT) management will engage with the management of M/s CRDC, the signatory of MoU, to firm up the way forward and to negotiate on draft Investment Agreement (IFA); whereas BoI, being Secretariat forum would convene a meeting as and when requested by Ministry of Maritime Affairs. Besides, the Ministry of Maritime Affairs was requested to closely coordinate/ consult with the Government of Sindh to avoid any kind of conflict.

It was also decided that BoI, being Secretariat of IC, will organize a diagnostic study pertaining to Mines and Minerals in collaboration with Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation (PMDC), and other provincial departments to create a picture whereby the Chinese side will be apprised about the present status, challenges, and potential of Mines and Minerals sector in Pakistan.

PM orders resolution of issues facing SEZs

Project Director PMU, CPEC informed that the Chinese side (Government, as well as, the private sector) has shown great interest in exchange programs for vocational training, and an MoU on Young Workers’ Cooperation Program has already been signed between the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and Chinese Government but due to Covid-19 pandemic the process is facing a backlog. Further, any other proposition regarding the exchange program from the Chinese side will be shared with the members as and when received.

Regarding support of the Chinese side in attracting Chinese enterprises for relocation/ investment in Dhabeji SEZ & proposal for Marble City Karachi, it was decided that the proposals submitted by the Sindh Economic Zones Management Company (SEZMC) for the development of Marble City Karachi near Northern Bypass will be discussed with National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) to be included as an agenda item for the 6th JWG on industrial cooperation. SEZMC may provide a feasibility study of the project.

On inclusion of Bostan SEZ into the priority list of future development, the meeting unanimously endorsed the proposal and decided that BoI, being Secretariat of the IC, be made part of the agenda in consultation with the Industries & Commerce Department of Balochistan in the forthcoming meeting of the JWG on industrial cooperation.

It was decided that the proposals submitted by the Planning and Development (P&D) Board AJ&K for the establishment of SEZ at New Industrial Area Mirpur will be reviewed before inclusion as an agenda item for the 6th JWG meeting on industrial cooperation. Further, P&D Board AJ&K was also requested to closely coordinate with SEZ section of BoI vis-à-vis providing details of feasibility studies of this project.

Regarding the establishment of the Industrial Zone at Minwar Gilgit, it was unanimously endorsed that proposals submitted by the P&D Board of Gilgit Baltistan will be discussed with NDRC to be included as agenda items for the 6th JWG on industrial cooperation. P&D Gilgit Baltistan should provide detailed feasibility studies of these projects.

On the development of an industrial corridor with modern infrastructure and revamping and upgradation of existing SEZs in Punjab replicating Chinese Governance Model, the meeting decided that BoI will review the proposals in detail presented by P&D Board Punjab before inclusion in the 6th JWG meeting. Further, BoI will organize diagnostic studies pertaining to Mines and Minerals in collaboration with PMDC and other provincial departments. Developers of industrial estates and SEZs will submit their proposals with respect to Effluent Treatment Plants (ETPs) to BoI for further evaluation.

Commerce Ministry will sensitize BoI regarding the list of Pakistani and Chinese companies for potential joint ventures.

BoI will share the potential proposals presented by P&D Board Sindh with Chinese side under business-to-business (B2B). P&D Sindh was also requested to share detailed feasibility studies about these proposals with BoI.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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