B2B cooperation under CPEC critical for sustained economic growth: official

ISLAMABAD:The second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) focuses on development of business-to-business (B2B) links as they are crucial for sustainable economic growth.
Talking to WealthPK, Syed Zafar Ali Shah, Secretary of Planning Commission, said, “Promoting B2B cooperation is now a priority of the government of Pakistan.”
He said that the Board of Investment (BoI), which is a member of the CPEC’s Working Group on Special Economic Zones, had developed an investor forum to facilitate ideas on launching joint ventures. “The BoI is in the process of identifying suitable and viable locations for consideration by the Joint Working Group for setting up SEZs,” he added.
“The BoI has designed a policy to create a conducive environment for attracting foreign direct investment. Policies are being devised in a way to ensure business liberalisation, de-regulation, privatisation and facilitation.”
He said the second phase of CPEC was meant to broaden the scope of cooperation on industrial, scientific, technological and agricultural development.
Zafar Ali Shah emphasised that the government was working to ensure policy consistency, ease of doing business, and provision of better incentives for private sector participation in development of a sustainable economic model.
Meanwhile, Dr Liaqat Ali Shah, Executive Director and Head of Policy Division at the Centre of Excellence for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, told WealthPK that the flagship Belt and Road Initiative, which the CPEC is part of, had entered the 10th year, successfully transforming the societies and systems in many member countries around the globe.
However, he expressed concern that investment rate in Pakistan had remained chronically low both in absolute terms and compared to other emerging and developing economies.
“We need to double our efforts to connect with Chinese business houses and create an enabling environment to attract Chinese investments.”
Liaqat Ali Shah said that CPEC had immense strategic importance for Pakistan as it had already helped the country lay a strong infrastructure for subsequent development.
“China is moving towards high-end industrial manufacturing with introduction of a dual circulation economy, and the rising phenomenon of Chinese industrial relocation to other countries around the world. Considering this unique opportunity, Pakistan can rapidly expand and diversify its industrial landscape.”
He stated that Pakistan wanted to enhance partnership with China to bolster its exports and become part of the latter’s global supply chains. “The government is committed to removing all the bottlenecks standing in the way of attracting investment in the country.”