ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited 10th session of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is expected to be held in Islamabad next week, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Khalid Mansoor indicated on Monday.
Addressing his maiden press conference after taking over the charge of the CPEC Authority, Mr Mansoor expressed optimism about the holding the JCC meeting either on Sept 23 or 24. Pakistan, he said, has committed to moving forward with the journey of development covered under the second phase of CPEC. Pakistan desires projects completed in the second phase at a faster pace, he said.
Planning Minister Asad Umar and vice chairman of National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China Ning Jizhe are scheduled to lead their respective delegations at the commission’s meeting.
The JCC meets once a year to review progress of projects under CPEC and identify new projects. The last meeting of the committee was held in 2019. The 10th meeting was to be held in 2020 but due to Covid-19 pandemic, it could not be held. However, a couple of attempts were made to hold the meeting but due to the security situation it was postponed. In July, Asim Bajwa, the then chairman of the CPEC Authority, had announced holding the JCC meeting on July 16 but it could not take place.
It is expected that the JCC will discuss plans for industrial cooperation between the two countries. Prior to the JCC, the Joint Working Group meeting on industrial cooperation will also take place. There are nine joint working groups under CPEC, and it is stated that seven groups have already met.
It was learnt that Pakistan will emphasise the need to expedite the construction of Main Line-1 (ML-1) project of Pakistan Railways. The project, which will cost $6.8 billion, has already been approved by the Ecnec.
The CPEC chairman said that the Chinese authorities have been briefed about the overall security situation in the country whereas additional security measures have already been taken. Security has been a serious issue for the Chinese in view of the recent incidents.
Mr Mansoor said during the JCC meeting recommendations of new projects approved by the joint working groups in sectors like agriculture, science and technology, energy and infrastructure will come up for discussion during the JCC meeting.
Chief executives of the companies established in the Faisalabad Industrial Estate and Manufacturing Company — a CPEC-prioritised Special Economic Zone in Punjab — were also present on the occasion.
Correction: This story earlier stated that the construction of the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project of Pakistan Railways will cost $6.8 million. The correct cost of the project is $6.8 billion. The story has been amended to reflect the correct figure. The error is regretted.
Published in Dawn, September 14th, 2021