Pakistan, China set new targets for cooperation

Minister says work on CPEC accelerated and scope expanded to cover diverse areas


Our Correspondent December 22, 2018
Minister says work on CPEC accelerated and scope expanded to cover diverse areas. PHOTO: APP

ISLAMABAD : Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has said that the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting has set new targets for Pakistan-China cooperation, leading CPEC towards becoming a true economic corridor with multiple doors.

He expressed these views after conclusion of the 8th JCC proceedings in Beijing on Friday.

The minister added that as per vision of the leadership, work on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was accelerated and its scope was expanded by opening its doors for industrial cooperation, agriculture and socio-economic development.

Bakhtiar added that Pakistan and China agreed to further strengthen the JCC mechanism through increased frequency of exchanges.

“Signing of an MoU on industrial cooperation will steer Pakistan into a new era of industrialisation and help expedite development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) through relocation of Chinese industries,” the minister said.

“Enhancing cooperation to cover diverse industries such as textile, petrochemical, iron and steel, mines and mineral, and automobile is a new target of CPEC.”

He pointed out that Pakistan-China cooperation in the agriculture sector would focus on attracting investment in food production, processing, logistics, marketing and exports through joint ventures between companies of the two sides.

That cooperation would transform Pakistan’s agricultural economy, benefiting from Chinese technologies, experiences and supply chains, which would help Pakistan to increase its exports significantly, he said.

First meeting of the joint working group on agriculture is planned to be held in the first quarter of 2019.

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“The newly established joint working group on socio-economic development has framed an action plan which provides guidelines on future cooperation in education, agriculture and related sectors,” he revealed.

“Development initiatives in these sectors will be launched within a short span of time to uplift less developed areas, particularly Balochistan, as well as southern Punjab, southern Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, northern Sindh and Gilgit-Baltistan.”

He pointed out that in the next phase of CPEC, the two sides agreed to cooperate in the maritime sector, port development and the automobile sector.

The minister emphasised that future focus of the energy sector would remain on power projects based on domestic resources and transmission line projects, following an integrated energy plan. He vowed to promote development of hydroelectric power projects on the Jhelum River cascade and in Gilgit-Baltistan.

“The government prioritises connectivity aligned with CPEC as well as Belt and Road vision,” the minister stressed and said the government had prioritised the development of road projects in Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan and southern Punjab.

Pakistan would explore an innovative financial model including build, operate and transfer (BOT) mechanism in order to finance mega connectivity projects.

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