SHANGHAI: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that Pakistan was an attractive place for foreign investors and with a promising 100 million human resource, under the age of 35, the country had a rich potential.
He was addressing the opening ceremony of the China International Import Expo at the National Exhibition and Convention Centre.
PM Khan said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would improve Pakistan’s and China’s connections with the Middle East and Central Asian Republics and open fresh investment avenues, new markets and vistas.
He said as the Belt and Road Initiative gave shape to a global community of shared interests, this expo would help spread dividends of freer trade among more closely integrated economies.
Pakistan has set up a pavilion at the expo to showcase its products.
Mr Khan, who is on a four-day official visit to China on the invitation of President Xi Jinping, is in Shanghai on the second leg of his visit. He said Karakoram Highway in Pakistan had merged into a network of modern highways that are part of the CPEC and link to the deep sea port of Gwadar — where it converges with the Belt and Road. He said this would not only have an impact on Pakistan, but also on the economies of the entire region.
During Shanghai meet, Imran and Medvedev agree to enhance bilateral ties in diverse fields
The prime minister said the CPEC would cut distances and costs, bringing much-needed resources to producers, and new products to consumers.
“CPEC is a mechanism to forge even closer connectivity between the Middle East and China, and between Central and South Asia.”
Mr Khan said Pakistan was a leading exporter of sports goods, medical instruments and IT products. He said his government had initiated deep and meaningful reforms to ensure transparency and accountability and provide seamless smart solutions for the government and the people.
“We are committed to improving our framework of transparency and accountability, leveraging technology for seamless, smart solutions for business and governance.” He said Pakistan was blessed with an abundant array of resources ranging from mineral riches to fertile lands. The country also had the wealth of renewable sources of energy and the most diverse landscape with twelve climate zones.
“Our industry is already producing high end textiles, sports goods, engineering goods, IT services and medical technologies, including surgical instruments. But by far, our greatest and most promising resource is human. We have 100 million Pakistanis below the age of 35 — a young vibrant population.” He said the New Pakistan will be a more conducive and a more competitive place for transacting business.
Mr Khan said: “At a time when the international trade system is under attack, when unilateral commercial benefits are being sought aggressively by some, and when protectionism is on the rise, we take great comfort in President Xi’s courageous affirmation: The doors of China’s Opening Up will never shut; but will only open ever wider.”
He expressed his gratitude to the government of China for the warm hospitality and participation in the Shanghai Expo.
Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping welcomed PM Khan and other world leaders at the opening ceremony of the Expo.
Around 172 countries, regions and international organisations from five continents are showcasing their development achievements and international image at the first China International Import Expo.
More than 3,600 companies from different countries will hold discussions and seek common development with over 400,000 purchasers from China and overseas during the event.
Meeting with Russian PM
PM Khan also held a meeting with Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev on Monday. The two leaders agreed to enhance their countries’ bilateral relations in diverse areas as well as cooperation on multilateral forum, particularly the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
The two leaders who met in Shanghai on the sidelines of the China International Import Expo exchanged views on regional issues, including the situation in South Asia and Afghanistan.
The meeting took place in a cordial and friendly atmosphere during which the two prime ministers expressed satisfaction on the upward trajectory of the bilateral relations, a press release issued by the PM Media Office in Islamabad said.
Reviewing the ongoing economic, trade, defence and energy cooperation, PM Khan stressed that the two sides should explore complementarities to maximise mutual benefit.
Explaining his government’s priorities, he underlined the importance of increasing economic cooperation with the Russian Federation and invited Russian investments in energy sector in Pakistan.
Mr Medvedev congratulated Mr Khan on his election and underlined the importance of further strengthening bilateral relations, especially in view of the changing regional dynamics.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018