A 50-member Chinese investment delegation on Thursday expressed a desire to invest $1 billion in the initial phase of various sectors in Pakistan including automotive, textiles, agriculture-related industries, and IT and telecom industries under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The Chinese investment delegation discussed in detail various aspects of joint ventures for the establishment of three early harvest special economic zones (SEZs) under the CPEC with the Board of Investment (BOI) and the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform.
Chinese Investment Delegation Desires to Invest $1bn in Pakistan’s Various Sectors
The CPEC projects include the establishment of the countrywide nine priority SEZs providing the opportunities of possible joint ventures for local businesses with the world-class export-oriented Chinese and foreign companies to relocate in the industrial parks and SEZs developed by Pakistan.
The BOI has given a comprehensive briefing to the delegation about the latest developments, opportunities, and facilities for the establishment of industrial zones in various parts of the country. The BOI briefed the delegation about early harvest projects for the establishment of Rashakai Economic Zone, M-1, Nowshera; China Special Economic Zone, Dhabeji; and Allama Iqbal Industrial City (M3), Faisalabad.
The delegation consisted of the CEOs / general managers of businesses from the city of Chongqing, China, which is leading China in automotive and several other hi-tech industries. Secretary BOI Omer Rasul, Additional Secretary BOI, Muhammad Saleem Ahmed Ranjha, Executive Director General BOI, Fareena Mazhar and President of Pakistan China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industries Faisal Afridi were also present on the occasion.
Head of the Chinese delegation Pan Guangfeng said that the investors could raise $300 million to $500 million for SEZ infrastructure development and an umbrella investment of $1 billion to $5 billion in several sectors. He hoped that the Chinese investment in Pakistan would help create 500,000 direct jobs for local youth, besides the transfer of technology and raising industries technology standards in Pakistan.
While briefing the delegation, Chairman BOI Zubair Gilani said that Pakistan would follow the Chinese examples of industrialization. He said that Pakistan is deeply fascinated by China’s example of industrialization and economic wisdom.
He said that CPEC initiative and industrial cooperation between the two nations is the first step in transforming the lives of people of the two countries.
Gilani said that China-Pakistan relationship transcends all differences, adding that despite political differences among political parties in Pakistan, there has always been complete unanimity as to the importance and significance of these relations.
He assured the delegation that his team at the BOI would provide all-out support to the Chinese investors regarding investment opportunities in Pakistan.
Omer Rasul said that the BOI has specially set up a Chinese Project Management Unit (PMU) for a smooth transition of future cooperation.
He emphasized that this is the time to invest in Pakistan. He highlighted that the country’s reforms agenda includes steps to improve its ranking on the ease of doing business and bring structural changes in microeconomic sectors particularly industrialization. He further said both the countries are agreed on the CPEC next phase – industrialization of Pakistan.
Head of the Chinese delegation Pan Guangfeng acknowledged the significance of Pakistan’s strategic location and the immense investment opportunities in the country. He also highlighted the potential role of the BOI in contributing to the economic and social development of Pakistan and further exploring the avenues of collaboration in technological innovation and up-gradation, job creation, e-commerce and development of human resource capabilities through industrial cooperation between both the countries.
Guangfeng informed that the city of Chongqing is along the OBOR and a center of heavy industrial activity in central China, especially the automotive and electronics industries of the region along with 37 industrial parks.
The members of the visiting delegation personified immense experience in developing economic zones and expressed their intention to facilitate the development of SEZs in Pakistan.
The Chinese 50-member business delegation also held a meeting with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.
The minister said that China can help increase Pakistan’s exports by relocating export-oriented industries and initiating joint ventures in various fields. He added that this will boost industrial cooperation, besides strengthening the bilateral economic partnership between the two countries.
He said that foreign investors can tap the potential of local export-oriented industries through joint ventures. The minister underscored that the private sector of both countries should forge partnerships for the mutual economic benefit of the two countries. He said that there are investment opportunities in various sectors such as maritime, iron and steel, petrochemical, agro-based industries, tourism, energy, minerals and mines, and textiles.
The minister invited Chinese businessmen and investors to take advantage of incentives being offered by Pakistan. While talking about the CPEC, the minister noted with appreciation that it has now entered its second phase with the focus on industrial and agriculture cooperation, socio-economic development and development of Gwadar. He said that the establishment of industrial zones has the potential to revive Pakistan’s industrial sector, adding that it will also create job opportunities, besides developing local industries.
The minister said that the visiting Chinese business delegation expressed the desire to invest around $1 billion in various sectors in the initial phase. He said that they expressed the desire to invest in various sectors in the country including automotive, textiles, agriculture-related industries, IT and telecom industries.
During the meeting, various proposals were discussed to explore more opportunities for future cooperation.
Meanwhile, the parliamentary committee on CPEC held an in-camera meeting at the Parliament House on Thursday with MNA Sher Ali Arbab in the chair.
While talking to Business Recorder, Arbab said that the committee discussed early harvest projects for the establishment of three industrial zones in Pakistan.
He said that Rashakai Economic Zone is likely to be inaugurated on October 2019. He said that various facilities and development work were discussed in the meeting.
The respective secretaries of the provinces also briefed the committee about the SEZs included in the early harvest program of the CPEC.
The members and the chairman pointed out different ambiguities and shortcomings particularly highlighting a detailed business plan as well as its impact on providing job opportunities to the local peoples of the project area.
The committee also appreciated the progress and work done so far by the Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Faisalabad, with the remarks that project will be completed within timeline shown in presentations, adding that it would be a model project up to expectations of all stakeholders and play a role of driver to promote exports and economy of the country.
Recommended Reading: Jazz Turns 25 This Year-Celebrates its Journey with Employees Nationwide