Inaugural meeting of joint cooperation committee (JCC) of China-Pakistan economic corridor was held between Chinese delegation led by Mr. Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice chairman National Development and Reforms Commission (NRDC) and representatives of different ministries led by Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms. Chinese delegation comprised high government officials and prominent entrepreneurs.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal in his opening remarks said Pakistan and China are trusted friends and partners in development “it is high time to transform our strongest political relations into strong economic relations. These relations are of great significance for the people of Pakistan. The corridor is not merely a transportation link but also provide energy and telecommunication links also. China’s development experience of past three decades is role model for the people of Pakistan. Pakistan supports one china policy on every forum. After withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, there will be a vacuum and this can only be filled by creating economic opportunities in the region to create jobs and economic alternatives. In this regard economic corridor is of high potential for the people of this region. Pak-China economic corridor has bilateral links with India, Afghanistan and Iran and would bolster the development in South Asia, Central Asia and Middle East”.
“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 said that main challenge is to make translate the vision of the present leadership of Pakistan and China into reality as early as possible relations are” He added. He assured his Chinese counterpart with fullest cooperation from the government of Pakistan to materialize economic relations.
Mr. Zhang Xioqiang said that Pakistan and China have great potential for economic cooperation in future which will 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”.
Prof. Iqbal briefed the delegation about functions and working of the Planning Commission. Minister said “we are in a phase of medium and long term planning to set targets for putting Pakistan on fast development and high growth in GDP and living standars by 2025. we want to transform our economy based on knowledge and innovation. Energy is our first priority in long term policies besides modernizing infrastructure. We want to transform our exports from commodity into value added sector by the help of technology. In our long term planning private sector will be the leader of growth and government will facilitate private sector.
Briefing on the economic corridor Mr. Iqbal said that special economic zones will be set up alongwith corridor. Mr. Zhang said that china will 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 told that china will encourage Chinese investers to play a positive role in development of Pakistan.
Prof. Ahsan Iqbal thanked the Chinese premier on waving off the condition of soverign guarantee for Pakistan. He also urged Mr 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. Mr Zhang said that he will raise this issue to Chinese financial institutions.
Detailed discussion on projects of Khanjrab-Gawadar road and rail links, moderanization of Pakistan railway network, Lahore-Karachi motorway, Thar coal project and Gaddani energy park were held.