ISLAMABAD: Experts from Pakistan and China on Thursday reviewed problems related to the volume of traffic and trade activities on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The two sides held a detailed discussion on the issues during signing of minutes of the two-day expert groups meeting on international road transport at the communications ministry.
Communications ministry’s senior joint secretary Altaf Asghar and leader of the Chinese delegation and party secretary of the transportation department Xinjiang Lin Ping signed the minutes.
The two-day talks between working level expert groups from Pakistan and China were aimed at promoting bilateral trade through the CPEC.
On the first day of the meeting, both sides discussed in details matters relating to exchange of information about China-Pakistan international transport volume during 2018, the present condition of the Karakoram Highway, restoration of the Kashgar-Gilgit bus service, and start of bus service from Lahore and Islamabad to Kashgar, routine mechanism for holding of bilateral talks on a regular basis and grant of multiple entries visas to the drivers/crew members.
The meeting also reviewed problems being faced by transport companies and facilitation measures by both the sides. A proposal to open the Pak-China border seven days a week was also considered.
The meeting was told that construction work on Havelian-Thakot section was in progress and hopefully would be completed by March 2020. The meeting also reviewed a plan to obtain services of more than one bus operator from both sides that would ultimately pave the way for ensuring quality services for cross-border transportation of passengers and freight.
In order to expand the range of trade relationship between Pakistan and China and to facilitate transportation of passengers and goods, both sides desired implementation of the bilateral road transport agreement in an effective manner.
Speaking on the occasion, Communications Secretary Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui said that Pakistan and China were on the same page to further expand the range of cooperation in trade, industry and tourism sectors that would ultimately prepare the ground for economic uplift of the whole region.
Altaf Asghar led the Pakistan delegation which comprised senior officers from the ministries of communications, foreign affairs, interior and commerce, National Highway Authority, Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation, National Logistic Cell and Northern Areas Transport Cooperation.
Lin Ping led the eight-member Chinese delegation that included officials from the international road transport office Xinjiang and other officers of relevant Chinese departments.
Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2019