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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Minister of Commerce and Industries, Gohar Ijaz and Chinese Ambassador Jiang Zaidong, met on Thursday and discussed ways and means to extend more cooperation under second phase of Pakistan-China Economic Corridor (CPEC) especially in fields of trade and investment.

Caretaker Minister informed the Ambassador that the first phase of CPEC is at an advanced age at inter-governmental level which helped Pakistan develop infrastructure, road network, power plants to meet energy needs, and now the time has come for the private sectors of both countries to gear up to realise the benefits on the ground prepared by the two governments.

Minister said a new relationship has been initiated by a consensus between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anwar-ul-Haq Kakar on the second stage of CPEC.

CPEC a practical manifestation of win-win cooperation: PM

He urged the Chinese private sector to invest in Pakistan, with particular attention to SEZs in Lahore and Karachi. He also informed the ambassador that he met Ambassador ShaZu Kang, President of Pak China Friendship Association in China and they also agreed that this was the way forward.

The minister highlighted the importance of private sector collaboration as the next step in strengthening the Pak-China relationship, revealing plans for the development of a Northern SEZ to link Urumqi with Pakistan and the availability of the Lahore and Karachi SEZs for further development.

He informed the Ambassador that as a part of his “Vision Pakistan: Road to $100 billion exports”, he has created two separate Export Advisory Councils for Textile and non-Textile Sectors respectively. The Councils will provide recommendations to the Ministry of Commerce on matters affecting export and would propose measures for export enhancement.

These would meet on a monthly basis or with higher frequency, if required, on trade and increasing Pakistani exports. He further discussed the importance of key projects, including the upgradation of ML1 and the realignment of the Karakoram Highway. The significance of the northern region, particularly the work on the Khunjerab Pass, was also highlighted.

The Commerce minister emphasized the need to develop and operate Special Economic Zones and reiterated the importance of Gwadar Port. “Pakistan is focusing on sectors such as agriculture, mining,new energy and IT under the framework of SIFC,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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