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Work on 17 out of 27 priority projects in social and economic development component of Chin-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would commence before 2020.

According to official documents concerned, the meeting of 9th joint cooperation committee (JCC) of CPEC, Pakistan and China appreciated the progress achieved by JWG since its establishment. Practical cooperation in a variety of fields on social and economic development has played important role to achieve the expected results in advancing social and economic development in Pakistan, improving Pakistani people's livelihood, and build public support for CPEC development, the documents indicated.

The JCC agreed to follow the MoU on social and economic development and proceed with the 27 agreed-upon priority projects in a steady and orderly manner, of which the 17 fast-track projects shall be commenced before 2020.

The JCC agreed that Pakistani side shall confirm the good list of the project of agricultural equipment and tools as well as the good list of the project of China-Pakistan joint agricultural technology laboratory by the end of November 2019, so that the two sides may complete Letter of expression (LoE) procedures at an early date.

Meanwhile, the Pakistani side should provide project proposals of the remaining 10 priority projects by the end of 2019 for the Chinese side to start feasibility studies at an early date.

The JCC agreed to convene the second meeting of JWG on social and economic development in Pakistan at due time after the LoE procedures of all the 17 fast-track projects are completed.

Both sides agreed to accelerate the procedures for the projects including Balochistan Solar Power Lighting Equipment, Drinking water equipment supply (Solar powered pumps in KP and Water filtration plants in AJK), and Smart Classroom project for higher education.

Besides, provision of medical equipment and material and Pakistan Vocational Schools Equipment Upgrading and Renovation Project.

Both sides agreed to take agriculture as a key cooperation area on the basis of equality and mutual benefits, enhancing cooperation in capacity building, germplasm resources, agricultural products processing, technology extension, fisheries, disease-free zone construction, and market information.

Pakistan side highlighted that Pakistan has a huge water resources for agriculture sector and recommended the inclusion of Chashma Right Bank Canal in list of CPEC projects.

Both sides reviewed with satisfaction the outcomes achieved and progress made since the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on international cooperation held in April 2019.

It was agreed to maintain close communication and strengthen cooperation to implement consensus reached by the leaders of both countries aimed at further deepening international cooperation and exchanges between think-tanks and the academic community.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019