Adeela Bahar KhanTuesday, June 11, 2013 - The relations between Pakistan and China are marked by deep rooted strategic harmony that reflects at every level individual, national, and international. The recent visit by the Chinese premier to Pakistan symbolizes the level of importance the Chinese leadership keeps for Pakistan. But unfortunately these relations are not properly translated into a workable mechanism where both could exploit the opportunities equally and sufficiently.
Pakistan and China are two different countries having different cultures, values and ideas. Over the years the mutual trust and understanding between these two neighbours has nurtured the relationship and enriched it day by day to the level of complete mutual harmony. Besides this, both countries are maintaining the relationship at diplomatic level as well as people to people level. The recent visit of Chinese Prime Minister opens a new chapter of bilateral ties and strengthens the traditional relations.
China is Pakistan’s largest trade partner in the world and Pakistan is China’s second largest trade partner in South Asia, after India. Pakistan’s exports to China were worth US$ 3.1 billion and imports worth US$ 9.2 billion in 2012. Bilateral trade between the two countries has reached $12 billion, and both sides are committed to bring it up to $15 billion over the next two to three years. However, there is trade imbalance which is mostly tilted towards China. It needs to be overcome to make the trade flow harmonious. Pakistan needs to chalk out policies which can promote Pakistani exports to Chinese market so that the Pakistani local business community can benefit more. Another aspect of Pak- China economic and trade relation is that the economic exchange is mainly at governmental level which should be rather at micro level. The non-government commerce has been far below its potential which is needed to augment further. There are multiple factors which are directly or indirectly impinging upon the Pakistan’s export to China which are detrimental in some ways to further development of bilateral economic co-operation. In this backdrop, it would be a thaw in these bad economic times to have persistent Chinese economic assistance and support to sustain economic and trade activities in Pakistan. Furthermore, the recent visit is a gesture to improve and promote strategic cooperation and bilateral economic ties. It will also strengthen the connectivity and will help to resolve the looming energy crisis of Pakistan.