First trade activity under CPEC kicks off

Published November 1, 2016
Containers are parked at the Sust port in upper Hunza for customs clearance.
Containers are parked at the Sust port in upper Hunza for customs clearance.

GILGIT: Pakistan and China kicked off first trade activities under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC) on Monday as over a hundred Chinese containers arrived at the Sust port after clearance from customs and an inaugural ceremony was held at the port a day earlier. Sust is a village in Hunza. It’s the last town in Pakistan on the Karakoram highway before the Chinese border.

The containers left for Gwadar after custom clearance.

The ceremony was attended by Chinese officials as well as Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman and the Force Commander of Gilgit-Baltistan, Saqib Mahmud Malik.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Mr Rehman said that under the CPEC the fate of GB would change, adding that one thousand Chinese containers would pass through the Karakoram highway in Gilgit-Baltistan every week. “This activity will bring prosperity and end unemployment in the region,’’ the chief minister said.

He said that it was an important day for both Chinese and Pakistani people since trade activity under the CPEC had officially started.

“The federal government has approved projects worth Rs72 billion in the region to provide GB with modern technology. The Shuntar pass, Babusar road and Gilgit-Skardu road would also be constructed under the CPEC,’’ Mr Rehman said.

Police personnel were posted on the containers as part of security measures for the CPEC.

Talking to Dawn, the customs superintendent at the Sust port, Ishaq Kiani, said containers loaded with CPEC projects goods were exempted from paying import tax. “Forty-five Chinese containers have departed from Sust and the remaining would leave after clearance,’’ he said.

Published in Dawn, November 1st, 2016

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