ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China agreed on Tuesday to speed up work by promoting joint ventures and export-led growth under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and declared 2019 as a year of industrial, socio-economic and agricultural cooperation.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on industrial cooperation, signed during the 8th CPEC Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting, provided a framework to steer communication in key industries such as textile and petrochemical, said Minister for Planning and Development Khusro Bakhtiar in a meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing.
He pointed out that the MoU was aimed at encouraging Chinese investors to relocate industries and explore investment avenues in Pakistan.
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Discussions during the meeting centred around the progress on CPEC projects where Yao appreciated the successful conclusion of the 8th JCC huddle in a cordial atmosphere where all targets were achieved and the scope of CPEC was widened to cover new avenues.
The Chinese ambassador appreciated efforts of the Pakistan government to facilitate Chinese investors and revealed that a large number of Chinese investors would visit Pakistan soon, which would further strengthen economic and bilateral cooperation.
Both sides agreed to ensure the groundbreaking of multiple projects in Gwadar in 2019. The projects included an international airport, hospital and vocational training institutes. Their inauguration will be held in the next three months.
The planning minister stressed that Pakistan could be transformed into an ideal destination for investment in different sectors.
"The Ministry of Planning will facilitate Chinese investors in the search for opportunities under CPEC and create a pull-effect," remarked Bakhtiar. "In this regard, the government is framing policies, which will improve the ease of doing business within a short span of time."
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Calling the first meeting of the joint working group on socio-economic development a major milestone, the minister added that the action plan discussed in it would help accelerate the development of less-developed areas.
Pakistan has already sent an invitation letter to a Chinese expert team for visiting the country.
"Both sides agreed to collaborate for speedy implementation of the initiatives in the already identified six areas," he said. The sectors included agriculture, education, medical treatment, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training.
Bakhtiar voiced hope that the working group meeting on agriculture, scheduled for February 15, would provide an opportunity to broaden cooperation within the CPEC framework.
He also extended an invitation to Chinese investors for exploring investment opportunities in Pakistan's agriculture sector.
It would aid in input supplies as well as food production, processing, logistics, marketing and exports in a vertically integrated way on their own or in joint venture with Pakistani companies.
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