CPEC: Business forum says private sector must be taken onboard

Published: December 29, 2016

KARACHI: Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Wednesday launched a report to convey its stance on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor; emphasising that the government should take into confidence the private sector of the country on CPEC-related developments and decisions.

“CPEC is basically the domain of the private sector, not of the government. Private sector should be the main player,” said FPCCI’s President Abdul Rauf Alam while speaking to members of this apex trade body in Karachi and Lahore through video link from FPCCI Capital Office in Islamabad.

Alam said that the FPCCI recommendations on CPEC were aimed at ensuring fast and sustained economic growth and development of the country under CPEC; not to create any hindrance to this important programme.

FPCCI said it was concerned about the protection of the local industry, which would have to compete with Chinese products directly supplied to the Pakistani market or that will be produced in industrialists units at Special Economic Zones (SEZs) enjoying better facilities and incentives, including tax holiday.

“Existing industries must be placed at par with those at SEZs,” Alam asserted.

He called for handing over the administration of SEZs to renowned private sector players through main trade bodies as they would give better results along with promoting sense of ownership among local business community in CPEC related projects.

He said the FPCCI had already submitted its research reports /study papers on different issues of national importance like shadow budgets for the federal and provincial governments, and Vision Pakistan which got due recognition from the government.

He emphasised that the government should be very careful in moving forward with CPEC so as to avoid any conflicting situation from the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China.

“Balance of trade has gone in favour of China after the FTA,” he maintained adding that the revised FTA with China must be signed at the earliest.

FPCCI President said that the business community’s main concern about CPEC was transparency in projects.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2016.

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