ISLAMABAD: To increase the trade in the second phase of the latter-financed economic projects Pakistan has deputised a new counsellors in project under South Asian Economy in China.
China has been financing infrastructure development in neighbouring Pakistan since 2013 to connect its western part with the rest of the world. Under its ambitious Belt and Road initiative, works on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects resulted in a network of roads and new power generation.
The next phase under the CPEC framework is cooperation in agriculture and industrial sectors. Despite all efforts, the project is taking a slow start with the Pakistani government stressing its openness to investment from across the word and not just China.
The appointment of new emissaries in China is also a step to sensitise investors in the world’s most populous country about economic opportunities in Pakistan’s industrial and agriculture sectors that are devoid of modern applications to benefit from their real potentials.
“To further Pakistan’s investment objectives of industrial cooperation with China, BOI [Board of Investment] has appointed eight honorary investment counselors in different regions of China. They are people from business and other related fields and will play an imperative role in apprising the Chinese business fraternity about potential joint ventures, other investment opportunities and the lucrative incentives offered to foreign investors in Pakistan,” Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment Razak Dawood wrote on Twitter. “These appointments will enhance the Pakistan-China investment portfolio that will add to the economic uplift of the country,” Dawood added.
The industrial cooperation is believed to make up for deindustrialisation associated with the bilateral free trade agreement signed in 2007 and besides expected employment generation for locals it is expected to transfer knowledge if terms are properly and designed implemented. The free trade agreement that was revised recently led to widening trade deficit for Pakistan’s economy, which is much smaller in size compared to China’s enterprising and prolific industrial capabilities. One of the reasons was unawareness of traders about benefits and products that can qualify for incentives.
The $60 billion CPEC concentrated mainly on construction of roads and motorways and power plants to ensure energy security in the wake of massive power shortfall. Within the last couple of years, a series of power projects transformed the country into an energy-surplus destination from the power-deficient one. The CPEC framework envisaged 10,000 megawatts of production capacity. Special economic zones are the next component after early harvest projects under CPEC. Initially, 27 zones were expected to be set up. The number was now reduced to nine.