ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Thursday signed an agreement to expand industrial cooperation in diverse fields and attract investment in special economic zones.
According to a press release, the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in Beijing at the eighth meeting of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Joint Coordination Committee (JCC).
The meeting was co-chaired by federal Minister for Planning Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar with vice chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Ning Jizhe.
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Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah, Board of Investment chairman Haroon Sharif, and representatives of other provincial governments and officials from both countries attended the meeting.
Ties to be enhanced in the fields of textiles, petrochemicals, iron, mines and minerals
The MoU of industrial cooperation, said the statement, would include cooperation in diverse industries such as textiles, petrochemicals, iron and steel, and mines and minerals. The minister for planning said that cooperation in the industrial sector would help attract investment in special economic zones and encourage relocation of Chinese industry, it added.
Both sides, it said, agreed to cooperate to develop special economic zones in a speedy manner and also decided to cooperate in maritime, port development and automobile sectors in the next phase of the CPEC.
Appreciating the progress made in the CPEC, the federal minister said: “The stage is now set to take it to the next level wherein the cooperation can be diversified to more trade and industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, agriculture, people-to-people interaction, and knowledge sharing under the clear vision set by our leadership.”
Officials from both countries expressed satisfaction and showed a willingness to expedite work on all projects, including Gwadar, the statement said. They discussed promoting joint ventures and industrial relocation from China to harness Pakistan’s export potential, the statement said.
The two sides also held the first meeting of the recently established Joint Working Group on socioeconomic cooperation which discussed a detailed action plan in six areas for future cooperation such as education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, skill development, healthcare, water supply, and vocational training projects. They agreed on poverty alleviation demonstration projects in all regions of Pakistan.
The first meeting of the Joint Working Group on agriculture will take place early next year.
Calling the visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China as “phenomenal success”, Mr Ning expressed confidence that the Pakistan-China relationship would continue to grow and prosper.
Published in Dawn, December 21st, 2018