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Imran Khan invites Chinese firms to invest in SEZs

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BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday invited the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan and benefit from the business-friendly policies of the government. 

The prime minister, who held a series of meetings with the executives of Chinese State-owned and private corporate sectors, said Pakistan was offering a conducive environment for investment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor. 

In his remarks, the prime minister appreciated the keen interest of the Chinese companies to invest in Pakistan. 

The executives who met the prime minister included leadership of China Communication Construction Company (CCCC), Huazhong Technology, Zhejiang Seaport Group, Challenge Apparel, Hunan Sunwalk Group, Royal Group, China Road, and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), Zhengbang Group, and China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC).

The corporate leaders briefed the prime minister on the progress of their on-going projects in Pakistan. 

They evinced keen interest in expanding investments in Pakistan in projects related to recycling of metals and paper, energy, textile, fiber-optics networks, housing, dairy, and water management.

The CCCC is a leading global construction and infrastructure development company; Huazhong Technology, specializes in integrated papermaking equipment; Zhejiang Seaport Group is one of China’s largest port operators; Challenge Fashions is a leading textile company; Hunan Sunwalk’s core business is in communications, 3D printing, and construction; Royal Group is China’s largest buffalo milk producer; CRBC focuses in civil engineering and construction projects; Zhengbang Group is Jiangxi Province’s largest agricultural enterprise, and CMEC is one of Chinese top agro-industrial machinery company.

The prime minister was joined in the meetings by federal ministers, advisers, and senior officials.

CPEC delivering tangible benefits

Prime Minister Imran Khan terming the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) of strategic significance for both countries said the project was delivering tangible benefits.

The prime minister expressed these views in a virtual meeting with Mr. He Lifeng, Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing.

The prime minister noted with satisfaction that CPEC’s early-harvest projects had transformed Pakistan’s economic landscape, thus laying a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth. 

Reaffirming the commitment of two sides to timely completion of CPEC and its high-quality development, the prime minister said that both sides would continue expediting efforts to achieve Gwadar’s potential as a hub of regional commerce and industry while also prioritizing preparatory work on the ML-1 and other key energy projects.

During the meeting, both sides reviewed the progress of ongoing CPEC projects and discussed the preparations for future initiatives.  

The prime minister was accompanied by cabinet ministers and senior officials for the meeting while Mr.He Lifeng was accompanied by Vice Chairmen Ning Jizhe and Tang Dengjie and other senior officials of the NDRC. 

In his remarks, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership was time-tested and timeless. 

Despite COVID-19 pandemic, work on all CPEC projects progressed steadily due to joint cooperation of both sides. 

The prime minister appreciated efforts of the NDRC and relevant authorities of both sides in this regard.

Chairman NDRC said that China attached immense significance to CPEC and was firmly committed to its steady progress and development.

 He noted that China has become Pakistan’s largest investment and trade partner in last seven years and both sides were keen to maintain the momentum of overall economic and trade ties in future as well. 

The Chairman added that NDRC and all relevant Chinese institutions would continue their efforts to encourage Chinese state-owned and private enterprises to invest in CPEC projects.

In this regard, both sides had decided to establish new green, digital, health, trade, and industry corridors, which would enhance sector-wise cooperation in these areas.  

Thanking the Prime Minister for his firm support, Mr. He Lifeng expressed China’s readiness to assist Pakistan in the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, science and technology and socio-economic development. 

During the meeting, both sides welcomed the signing of the Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation between the Board of Investment (BOI) and the NDRC which would, inter alia, facilitate relocation of China’s industrial units to CPEC SEZs and accelerate investment from China and elsewhere. 

Both sides also signed the minutes of the 6th JWG meeting on Gwadar which was held on 30 December 2021. 

The minutes were signed by Planning Ministet Asad Umar and Vice-Chairman NRDC Ning Jizhe. 

Earlier, Prime Minister Imran Khan arrived in Beijing for a four-day official visit that will include attending the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics and meetings with the Chinese leadership.

Prime Minister will attend the event to express solidarity with Beijing as some countries have boycotted the forthcoming Winter Olympic Games being held in the Chinese capital.

According to the PM Office, the premier was “accorded a red-carpet welcome” upon his arrival at the Beijing Capital International Airport. Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, Planning and Development Minister Asad Umar, Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad, National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf, Advisor on Commerce Abdul Razzaq Dawood, and Special Assistant on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Khalid Mansoor are accompanying him.

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