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Pak-China industrial cooperation to make history: BOI


KARACHI: Miftah Ismail, chairman Board of Investment (BoI), on Thursday said leaderships of both the neighbouring countries have taken bilateral relations to a new horizon through game-changing mega project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“Today Chinese companies are working on a number of projects relating to energy, railways, and road infrastructure especially new special economic zones (SEZs) under the CPEC” Ismail told the concluding session of Pakistan-China Industrial Cooperation dialogue held at a local hotel.

“Pakistan is planning to establish 46 SEZs alongside the CPEC route in the long run. Nine of them were declared prioritised during the sixth meeting of Pakistan-China Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC held in December, 2016.”

The BOI chief said either Chinese or Pakistani companies can build these zones or it can be built jointly by both sides. “Not only the products manufactured in these zones can be exported but also sold in the local Pakistani market duty free,” he said.

The BOI chief stressed that this makes the zone ideal for investors as Pakistan had a big market of 200 million plus people. “The model can be primarily export oriented, but in case of China import substitution also has a lot of potential, said he.

Reiterating the government’s commitment to provide all utilities and security to the investors, Ismail pointed out that each zone has its special features in terms of location, raw material, skilled work force, and access to markets within and outside the country. “China has a rich experience in developing zones and Pakistan can learn much from Chinese experience,” Ismail said.

Li Yuan, a representative from the visiting Chinese delegation, told the participants that they started with four SEZs in the initial phase and then developed 14 coastal cities, and subsequently 14 industrial zones were raised in China.  “Industrial development takes a long time and planning to consider all relevant factors,” he added.

Yuan said the proposed Pakistani priority SEZs needed to be reviewed by expert group from both sides to decide exact number and types of zones to be developed in the first phase.  “Chinese side has already notified its expert group, but Pakistani is yet to constitute its expert group,” Yuan said and emphasised on devising a long term cooperation mechanism to select priority sectors and to synergise policies for SEZs.

Source: The News