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“Despite challenges, Pakistan is cruising towards the completion of the China – Pakistan Economic Corridor project”, said Ahsan Iqbal while attending the 11th New Champions Conference in Dalian, a city in China on Wednesday.

In a speech, the minister further said that they are faced with an obstacle of ‘lack of coordination’ between government ministries and the internal and external stakeholders.

“Despite all the problems, the government of Pakistan is very happy with the smooth implementation and speedy progress of the project”, he stressed.

Read more: CPEC: a corridor of prosperity or uncertainty?

The mega CPEC project

China –Pakistan Economic Corridor project that was proposed by the Chinese President Xi Jin-ping is a three-phase project, expected to be completed, by the end of 2030.This rail-road project will connect China with the European and Middle Eastern region.

Commenting on the benefits Pakistan will make through this project, he said that the “fruits of this investment are reaching to the underdeveloped parts of the country. The project is breaking the cycles of poverty and under development by providing opportunities for sustainable growth while connecting hinterlands with the coastal belt of the country”.

Both the countries are investing a huge amount of money in this project where an investment Rs, 10 billion and $57 billion would be made by Pakistan and China respectively.

Commenting on the benefits Pakistan will make through this project, he said that the “fruits of this investment are reaching to the underdeveloped parts of the country. The project is breaking the cycles of poverty and under development by providing opportunities for sustainable growth while connecting hinterlands with the coastal belt of the country”.

Read more: CPEC and Pakistan’s concerns: New policy for Chinese citizens

He further added that the effects of the project for Pakistan could be seen in the increasing foreign investments in Pakistan. All the macroeconomic indicators are receiving steady improvements; such as foreign reserves have doubled and the budget deficit has decreased from 9% of the GDP to 4.5 % of the GDP and GDP growth has reached an all-time high for the last ten years.

The minister iterated that the investment project would soon bring an end to the on –going energy crisis after the establishment of various hydro, thermal and solar power plants.

Read more: Naval sailors attacked in Baluchistan: another attempt to slow down CPEC?

The benefits of CPEC and concerns of local industry owners 

“The fruits of CPEC are beginning to deliver instant results with a reduction in power shortages and providing connectivity between remote places and developed areas, bringing economic opportunities for people,” he added.

CPEC is the flagship project that is expected to bring together the growth engines of South Asia, Central Asia, and China thereby dispersing tangible economic benefits to the three billion population of the region.

In a meeting with the senior officials on Friday by the representatives of the small industry, they urged that though CPEC is a project with a potential to change Pakistan’s economic fortunes, it should be used for boosting the exports of Pakistan. Chinese industry should not be allowed to overtake Pakistani markets.

He also highlighted that CPEC will not only reap benefits for Pakistan’s economy but also for foreign investors.

However, apart from the comprehensible benefits proposed in the project for Pakistan and China, there are increasingly growing concerns found in the local small industry owner who has expressed their insecurities regarding the relive given to the Chinese producers in terms of industry- friendly policies by the government for this project.

Read more: CPEC will not stir up Indo-Pak Trouble, says China

In a meeting with the senior officials on Friday by the representatives of the small industry, they urged that though CPEC is a project with a potential to change Pakistan’s economic fortunes, it should be used for boosting the exports of Pakistan. Chinese industry should not be allowed to overtake Pakistani markets.

CPEC project is underway. Both China and Pakistan have expressed commitment and desire to ensure its completion. Both these states must coordinate with each other to counter security challenges this project is facing. Iran, Afghanistan, and India must be taken on board and their genuine concerns must be addressed so that this project leads towards regional integration and economic growth for all.

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