ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has given one week to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to finalize the modalities for third party projects under the umbrella of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) aimed at allowing investment from other countries, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

The Prime Minister who is scheduled to visit China during first week of June 2024, ie, before presentation of federal budget 2024-25 in Parliament, wants to complete paper work for Third party projects in CPEC prior to his official visit to China next month, the sources said, adding that Secretary Foreign Affairs has been given deadline of this week to complete the task.

The Prime Minister would hold discussions with the senior Chinese leadership on diverse topics including CPEC, development of Gwadar, trade and investment, financial relationship, mineral cooperation, ICT, agriculture, Science and Technology and security of Chinese nationals.

CPEC review meeting: Certain proportion of imports should be done thru Gwadar port: PM

The sources said, Prime Minister will request China to consider inclusion of Diamer Bhasha Dam in the CPEC framework, the sources added.

The CPEC regional scope would be expanded by improving connectivity of neighbouring countries and regions with Pakistan’s sea ports as both countries support the extension of the CPEC to wider areas through land route transportation.

The CPEC phase–II to focus on B2B except ML and hydropower projects. Board of Investment and Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives to devise mechanisms to enhance B2B cooperation.

According to the draft shared by the Chinese side prepared for CPEC Joint Working Group (JWG) on International Cooperation and Coordination Modalities for third-party participation in CPEC, the following general principles and objectives would apply: (i) CPEC is an open platform and inclusive initiative based on extensive consultation, joint contribution, and shared benefits; (ii) both Pakistan and China welcome third-party participation in the CPEC in mutually identified areas, on a project-by-project basis; (iii) third-party involvement is aimed at attracting high quality capital, technology, and expertise to enrich CPEC’s development; (iv) third-party involvement would not affect the leading role of the governments of Pakistan and China in steering CPEC; (v) third-party involvement would not lead to the tri-lateralization of CPEC mechanisms such as the JCC and JWGS; (vi) third-party participation would only be made public after it is approved by Pakistani and Chinese authorities. Unilateral release of information about third-party participation will be avoided at all levels; and (vii) all potential third parties will be expected to maintain confidentiality of information until their respective projects are agreed/accepted.

Ministry of Finance has been directed to review available financial space for releasing of some delayed payments to Chinese IPPs, which have now touched Rs 500 billion. Secretary Finance tasked to hold a meeting in this regard.

Secretary Foreign Affairs and Pakistan’s ambassador to China to coordinate with Chinese countries on ease of visas for Pakistani businessmen to visit China.

The Prime Minister has also directed that Ministry of Interior and relevant stakeholders thoroughly review the existing security mechanisms of Chinese national working Pakistan. Secretary Interior has been asked to make security of Chinese national foolproof.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and relevant Ministries have been directed to finalize draft MoUs/framework agreements planned to be signed during the Prime Minister’s visit to China. All MoUs to be approved by the competent forums.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has convened an inter-ministerial meeting on Monday (May 27, 2024) to finalize talking points/briefing material and list of MoUs/Agreements/Protocols to be signed during the visit.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been directed to discuss with Chinese side for arranging visits/meeting of Prime Minister on: (i) an exemplary SEZ;(ii) one window operation facility; (iii) Power China;(iv) China/Pak Friendship Forum; (v) Agri Research Centre; and (vi) IT Centre.

The Prime Minister has also directed Secretary Commerce, Secretary Industries and Secretary Maritime Affairs to issue instructions for using Gwadar Port for the imports by the public sector entities, the sources said, adding that Prime Minister’s instructions have been complied with.

Board of Investment has been asked to devise a policy framework and plan to relocate Chinese textile industry and other labour intensive industries to Pakistan for increasing exports.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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