Premier asks Chinese entrepreneurs to shift industries to CPEC special zones

BEIJING: Prime Minister Imran Khan invited Chinese entrepreneurs to take benefits of investment-friendly policies of his government and relocate their industries to the special economic zones being built under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The Pakistan government wanted Chinese entrepreneurs to relocate their industries to special economic zones being constructed in the country just like they repositioned their industries in Vietnam and other countries, he said while addressing participants of the Pakistan-China Trade and Investment Forum organised by the Ministry of Commerce here.

More than 370 Chinese companies and businessmen and 70 entrepreneurs from Pakistan participated in the forum.

The prime minister also expressed his government’s resolve to remove impediments in the way of investment and make doing business easy for the Chinese business in Pakistan.

He said the government had offered incentives and concessions in tax and asked them to use Pakistan as the base for exporting their products to other countries.

On the CPEC, he said, it was started with building infrastructure and couple of roads, but it had now blossomed to different areas of cooperation and gone into cooperation in agriculture which is the lifeline of Pakistan.

He expressed the confidence the economic growth would improve after an increase in agriculture production with the cooperation of China.

Highlighting the security situation in the country, he said it had been greatly improved with sacrifices rendered by Pakistan’s armed forces and other security organisations. They have overcome a difficult security situation.

About relations with neighbouring countries, he said, Pakistan is helping a peace process in Afghanistan and added, for the first time, there were prospects of peace and a political settlement of Afghan issue.

Regarding relations with India, he said that elections were being held in India and hoped that Pakistan and India would resume dialogue once the new government took charge after the elections.

He remarked that the Kashmir was a core issue between the two countries which should be resolved through negotiations.

The prime minister said that Pakistan’s strategic location was important as it had China, world biggest market on one side, India, the second biggest market on the other side while it had countries full of energy resources on the western side.

Pakistan sought support from China to set up a university of science and technology for education in different fields, particularly artificial intelligence, information technology and other related subjects for the young population, he added.

He expressed the confidence that more countries would join the Belt and Road Initiative as it was meant for the connectivity and shared prosperity.

Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Textile Abdul Razzaq Dawood said after the signing of the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China the bilateral trade and wide-ranging mutual business cooperation would increase between the two all-weather friends.

Pakistan, he said, would have greater market access to the Chinese market, and begin the export of wide-ranging goods to China and enhance cooperation in agriculture and livelihood areas.

He said the Chinese agro firms were also very keen to enter into the Pakistani market and collaborate with Pakistani counterparts due to the rapidly increasing demand of the import of food products from Pakistan.

Pakistan Business Council vice chairman Saqib Shirazi spoke on business opportunities between China and Pakistan and pointed out that the present government had offered a number of incentives to attract foreign investment in the country.

In his welcome address, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid said the second phase of the FTA would help accelerate cooperation in business and trade between Pakistan and China.