ISLAMABAD: The Pak-China Economic Corridor Secretariat on Tuesday was formally inaugurated here at the Planning Division aiming at transforming the strongest political relations into economic relations between the two friendly countries.
The secretariat was jointly inaugurated by Federal Minister for Planning and Development, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal and Vice Chairman, National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) China, Zhang Xiaoqiang.
Earlier the inaugural meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of Pak-China Economic Corridor was held between Chinese delegation led by Zhang Xiaoqiang and representatives of different ministries led by Prof. Ahsan Iqbal.
The Chinese delegation comprised high government officials and prominent entrepreneurs.
Ahsan Iqbal, in his opening remarks, said, “It is high time to transform our strongest political relations into economic relations. These relations are of great significance for the people of Pakistan.”
He said the corridor was not merely a transportation link but energy and telecommunication corridor also.
China’s development experience of past three decades is a role model for the people of Pakistan, he added.
Pakistan, he said, supported one China policy on every forum.
He said after withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, there would be a vacuum, which could only be filled by creating economic opportunities in the region to create jobs and economic alternatives.
In this regard, he said, the economic corridor was of high potential for the people of Afghanistan. “Pak-China economic corridor has bilateral links with India, Afghanistan and Iran and would bolster the development in South Asia, and the Middle East,” he remarked.
Prof Iqbal said, “Gawadar offers strategic opportunities not only to Pakistan and China but also to the rest of the world. We are keen to have Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure. We are already working with Chinese companies in Gaddani coastal energy park and in solar energy projects.”
He further said the main challenge was to make economic relations as stranger are political relations.
He assured his Chinese counterpart of full cooperation from the government to materialize economic relations.
Zhang Xioqiang said that Pakistan and China had great potential for economic cooperation in future, which would further strengthen brotherly relations with both countries.
“This will not only promote trade but also bring stability in the region by creating jobs”, He added.
“This project is important for the whole region”, he added. Prof Iqbal briefed the delegation about functions and working of the Planning Commission.
“We are in a phase of medium and long term planning to set targets for moderately good growth in GDP and living standard by 2025 and want to transform economy based on knowledge and expertise,” he said.
The minister said that energy was the government’s focal point in long term policies, besides modernizing infrastructure.
“We want to transform our exports from commodity into value added sector by the help of technology and in our long term planning private sector will be the leader of growth and the government will facilitate the private sector,” he said.
Briefing on the economic corridor, Iqbal said that special economic zones would be set up alongwith corridor.
Prof Ahsan Iqbal thanked the Chinese premier on waving off the condition of sovereign guarantee for Pakistan.
He asked Zhang to raise the ceiling of investment by EXIM Bank and China development bank from $3 billion to $10 billion for development projects of Pakistan.
Speaking on the occasion, Zhang said that China would invest in energy, transportation, and infrastructure and export based industries.
He also hoped that this landmark project would serve as backbone for Pakistan’s economy.
He said Chinese investors would be encouraged to play a positive role in the development of Pakistan.