ISLAMABAD, June 28 (APP): Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will undertake his first ever official visit to China from July 4 to 8 at the invitation of the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. The Prime Minister will be accompanied by a high-level delegation for his first official visit abroad after assuming his office, said Foreign Office spokesman. Taking place immediately after the visit of Premier Li Keqiang in May this year, the visit signifies the closeness and warmth which characterizes Pakistan China relations. High level visits are the hallmark of the strong Pakistan China relations. To prepare for the visit and to ensure follow-up on Prime Minister’s discussion with Premier Li Keqiang in Islamabad,a Task Force led by Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning and Development visited China on 24-26 June 2013.
A number of proposals and initiatives were discussed which would be concretized during the Prime Minister’s visit.
Besides official talks with the Chinese leadership, the Prime Minister’s engagements include meetings with leaders of Chinese financial and corporate sector, interaction with media, visit to major industrial centers and Special Economic Zones.
The traditionally close, cordial, cooperative and friendly ties between Pakistan and China are based on shared principles and mutual interests entailing cooperation in diverse fields.
Economic cooperation between Pakistan and China has expanded significantly in recent years. Under a comprehensive framework Pakistan and China have bilateral economic cooperation in the form of Joint Economic Commission, Economic Cooperation Group, Joint Energy Working Group and a Joint Investment Company,besides several other mechanisms.
A Free Trade Agreement as well is operational since 2008, covering tradein goods, investment and services.
Trade volume last year crossed the figure of US$12 billion with Pakistan exports increasing by 48%. More than 120 Chinese companies are engaged in Pakistan and Chinese investment touched the figure of US$ 2 billion in 2012.
We are confident that the Prime Minister’s visit will provide further impetus to enhancing the existing strategic partnership between Pakistan and China.
(Courtesy: Associated Press of Pakistan)