ISLAMABAD: The Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing, held a meeting with the Secretary Planning, Development and Reform, Zafar Hasan, where both personalities decided to accelerate the progress of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), especially in the field of socioeconomic development. Six areas have been identified under the ambit of socioeconomic development, which include health, education, clean drinking water, vocational training, agriculture and poverty alleviation. Furthermore, work on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is also expected to be expedited. Ambassador of China in Pakistan, Yao Jin called on Secretary Planning, Development and Reform, Zafar Hasan and discussed the progress of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Prime Minister’s visit to China in April.
Project Director,CPEC Hasaan Daud was also present on the occasion, said a statement issued by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform here. Both sides agreed to further expedite implementation of projects in the field of socio-economic development following the Chinese experts visit to Islamabad. Development initiatives in the six identified areas; health, education, drinking water, vocational training, agriculture and poverty alleviation would be implemented in three years time with special focus on less developed remote regions of Pakistan. Breakthrough is expected on the implementation of this sector during the high level visit. Secretary Planning,Zafar Hasan highlighted importance of industrial cooperation under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), saying that special economic zone development would be ensured as per the vision of incumbent government. Both the sides would move further to ensure a comprehensive mechanism for tangible work in this sector, including launch of specail economic zones SEZs’ development, he added. Both the sides agreed to promote early implementation of Gwadar projects, including vocational institute, hospital, new Gwadar Airport and City Master Plan. Spadework on the projects has been completed and ready to hit the ground by mid of this year. Secretary underscored the need to finalize preliminary design of Pakistan Railways ML-1 upgradation so that negotiation on financial matters may commence. Both sides agreed to enhance communication to finalize agenda and deliverable for the upcoming highest level visit on the occasion of Belt and Road Forum, planned in April this year. The Balochistan government and Chinese company CMEC agreed to build new schools in Gwadar and Ziarat using prefabrication technology under a public-private partnership programme.
The agreement was reached on Tuesday between the provincial government and the Chinese company after a meeting between Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan Alyani and CMEC General Manager Li Kan. During the meeting, the Chinese company’s leader briefed Mr Alyani on his company’s projects and said that his company had expertise in constructing homes and buildings through prefabrication technology in a short period of time besides having experience in agriculture production through minimum use of water. “Because of shortage of water, Balochistan can shift its agriculture sector to modern technology and the CMEC is ready to help the Balochistan government in this sector under the private-public partnership programme,” the Chinese company’s GM said. Later, Mr Alyani and Mr Li Kan agreed to use prefab technology initially for building new schools in Gwadar and Ziarat. The chief minister said that the Balochistan government would provide land for cultivation of vegetables and cotton plants in Lasbela university. The Chinese company’s general manager agreed to train students of the Lasbela University in modern agriculture techniques besides awarding them scholarships for higher studies in China. Earlier, Pakistan and China are holding 11th round of second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA-II) on March 12-13, 2019 in Beijing, hoping positive outcome of the much supported parlays, well-informed sources told media.
Pakistan’s negotiation team will be headed by Shafiq Shahzad Baloch (Chief Negotiator). Other members of the team will be Yasmin Abdul Wahab, Consultant, MoC, Ghulam Qadir, Trade Economist, MoC, Khuda Bukhsh Rind, EDB, and one representative each from Ministry of National Food Security and Research, Textile Division and Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). The agenda of talks will be market access of trade in goods, claw back, investment text and customs data exchange.
The sources said, both countries want to finalise CPFTA-II prior the second visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China scheduled in April 2019. China has indicated that the items under zero tariff have been agreed and rice, yarn and sugar have been included in the items prior to implementation of FTA-II, and given an assurance to Islamabad that it would procure additional products worth $ 1 billion. “China has conveyed that it is ready to work out the final details. — APP