“Chinese business houses should establish their regional offices in Pakistan,” the prime minister said while chairing a meeting with a delegation of 10 leading Chinese investors and companies undertaking business ventures in critical sectors, including energy, communication, agriculture, science and technology, financial sector and industry.
The prime minister, while welcoming the representatives of leading Chinese companies, stated that Pakistan accorded great importance to strengthening its relations with China.
He reiterated that Pakistan and China have shared destiny. “Strengthening of business-to-business ties of the people of the two countries is a foremost priority,” he added.
China’s ambassador calls Pakistan emerging hub of trade
Prime Minister Khan assured the Chinese investors that his government would accord the highest priority to the provision of every possible facilitation to Chinese investors.
The delegation comprised representatives of Power Construction Corporation of China (Power China), China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC), China Gezhouba (Group) Pakistan, China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Company Ltd, China Railway Group Limited, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Machinery Engineering Corporation and China Mobile Pakistan Limited.
— Chinese Emb Pakistan (@CathayPak) August 22, 2020
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Mr Yao Jing and Haier CEO Javed Afridi was also present.
Minister for Communication Murad Saeed, Minister for Industries Hammad Azhar, Planning Minister Asad Umar, Finance Adviser Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Commerce Advisor Abdul Razak Dawood, chairman of the Board of Investment Atif R. Bokhari, Chairman of the CPEC Authority retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa also attended the meeting.
Chinese Investors thank Prime minister
The Chinese investors thanked the prime minister for his personal interest in facilitating Chinese investors and the business community in Pakistan. The participants expressed satisfaction over business-friendly policies of the present government, especially in improving the ease of doing business.
They reaffirmed commitment to further expand their investments and explore more business opportunities in various sectors of the economy. “Various reforms introduced at policy and implementation level have enhanced confidence of the Chinese business community and Pakistan is being looked like a major partner in development in the post-COVID-19 environment”, stated the Chinese ambassador.
Later, while launching a tree plantation drive, Chinese Ambassador Jing said Prime Minister Khan’s vision was to make Pakistan a “hub of trade”.
He said China also saw Pakistan as an emerging hub of trade.
Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the ambassador said the prime minister had categorically announced that the CPEC would strengthen ties between the two brotherly countries.
Media reports said the prime minister had also stressed the need for boosting tourism in Pakistan and talked about the scenic beauty of Swat.
Mr Jing appreciated Pakistan’s strategy to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic.
President Xi may visit Pakistan soon
“He (Xi) is very keen to come,” Qureshi told reporters. “Both sides understand that his visit will be of an extraordinary nature. For that, there is a need to understand the flux in the regional and international situation and also to prepare before his trip.”
The minister said that a “roadmap” was discussed and further interaction between the two countries will be seen in the coming days. The date of President Xi’s visit will be decided to keep in mind the “developments and the Covid-19 situation”, Qureshi said.
His remarks come days after President Xi, in a letter to his Pakistani counterpart President Arif Alvi, said that his country was ready to work with Pakistan to deepen the building of “China-Pakistan Community of Shared Future” and to jointly promote cooperation among regional countries.
Growing trade between the two countries
As per the data of the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan’s exports to China increased from $1.8 billion in the fiscal year 2018 to $1.9 billion in the fiscal year2019. In percentage terms, the share of exports to China increased from 7.2 percent in total exports in the fiscal year 2018 to 7.7% in the fiscal year 2019. Chinese investors in Pakistan have also increased.
Govt. to accord highest priority to provision of every possible facilitation to Chinese investors: PM Khan#CPEC #BRI@zlj517 @CathayPak @WangXianfeng8 @AsimSBajwa @PakAmbChina @zhang_heqing https://t.co/JPKtOSn2mn
— CPEC Official (@CPEC_Official) August 25, 2020
Major export items include cotton yarn, rice, alcohol and other spirits, copper and related products and chromium ores. It is worth mentioning that these items are contributing over 60 percent of the total exports to China which indicates a low export base of Pakistan.
Under the revised FTA between Pakistan and China, 313 product lines of Pakistan will have duty free access and unilateral concession in China for the next fifteen years. This is a positive development for exporters to increase their market share in China.
There is a need to develop domestic industries and market in Pakistan in order to obtain maximum benefits from the concessions under the FTA. Furthermore, it is important to develop a regulatory environment to increase investment inflows.