ISLAMABAD: Foreign direct investment (FDI) from China in Pakistan rose 150% to $516 million in the first three quarters of fiscal year 2015-16 compared to the corresponding period of previous year.
Board of Investment (BoI) Secretary Azhar Ali Chaudhry stated this while speaking at the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Investment Construction Cooperation Forum in Beijing, according to a message received here on Friday.
Chaudhry highlighted that Pakistan was following a liberal investment regime and all sectors of the economy were open for foreign investment. The process of opening new businesses had also been simplified and foreign investors could hold up to 100% equity in manufacturing concerns, he said.
Apart from these, special economic zones that provide a package of incentives are being established all over the country with efficient infrastructure and one-window facility.
Chaudhry stressed that the CPEC was a multi-fold development package that covered not only vital road and rail links but energy cooperation as well.
Enhanced connectivity between China and Pakistan would transform the geo-economic landscape of the East and West Asia neighbourhood, he said, adding once such connectivity became effective, Pakistan would act as a vital bridge between China, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
This route could then be used for transportation of oil and gas or laying pipelines and the corridor would drastically shorten the distance for Chinese trade that now went through the Indian Ocean and Malacca Straits.
Chaudhry pointed out that Gwadar Port was the crown jewel of the CPEC and was being developed into a full-fledged regional and trans-shipment hub. This port is a gateway to the Gulf, which is an important route for oil tankers bound for western countries.
The government has declared Gwadar as a duty-free port and a free economic zone. “We are planning to establish special economic zones not only in Gwadar but alongside the economic corridor,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2016.
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