Australia praises CPEC, wants to participate

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Salahuddin Haider

That the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would attract the outside world, was visualized much before it was launched, but it would sell like hot cakes, is beginning to be discovered now and somewhat speedily, which should be and has become a matter of delight for China and Pakistan. Iran had shown interest in it, and now a distant Australia, located Down Under, has declared its intent to benefit from its opportunities.
Such a welcome announcement came from none else than the High Commissioner from Canberra, Margaret Anne Adamson during a speech at English Speaking Union of Pakistan, a tremendously elite forum of intellectuals, and notables which has now expanded wings to other cities of the country also.
The EUSP, founded by late lamented Ahmad Jaffer of an illustrious family which had direct links with the Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, has now grown into a really worthwhile organization, inviting celebrities and people-who-matter for periodical lectures. Her speech on “Australia’s trade and investment relationship with Pakistan” was as the organization President Aziz Memon, and vice President, Tariq, described during vote of thanks later, was really informative and extremely elucidatory.
She started by extending Eid greetings to Pakistanis. Margaret, one of the many lady ambassadors and high commissioners in Islamabad, described Karachi as “hugely important city” inhabited by as many souls as in Australia itself. She thus demonstrated that Australian hospitality and warmth was exemplary, a fact of which I personally experienced during my two visits to that part of the world.
The relationship between her country and Pakistan was “long, positive and productive”, she however thought that private sector ties would help raise the bilateral trade from its present pathetic level of US$280 million Pakistan exports to Australia, and US$650 million imports from that country. There existed much bigger potential which needs to be exploited mutually.
Australia relied mainly on Pakistani textiles and rice, which was not enough and needs to be diversified to cover many other aspects also. Australian dairy farming, tourism, agriculture, energy, water management, fertilizer, and above all education and consultancy services, had been benefitting Pakistan and should expand now for greater good of the two countries.
Unreservedly, she thought that Pakistan could export Information Technology to Australia, having developed soft wares and other IT items. Emphasising that Australian economic and investment policy’s prime principle was driven from “economic diplomacy” which rested heavily on private sector dynamism. Margaret, agreeing that the two countries had complimentary economies, she nevertheless thought this had, in no way, restricted or restrained bilateral promotion of economic ties. In fact more and more Australian companies were now showing interest for investment in Pakistan.
She said that Australian investment in the world amounted to $2.3 trillion. It would like to expand its ties with UK after Brixit.
Coming to CPEC, she said it held great potential not only for Pakistan and China, but for the region also. Australian companies had been watching with increasing interest opportunities emerging from its development, and may well benefit from these.
Welcoming her, President EUSP Aziz Memon threw light on her illuminating career, beginning with her entry into foreign service in 1973, having served in Vienna, Indo-China, Germany(both at Bonn and Berlin) , and as ambassador to Cambodia etc.