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CPEC for industrial, agri growth

THE first phase of multi billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor remained highly successful in addressing power shortage and bringing improvement in road infrastructure and now there are great hopes that the second phase which will see rapid industrialization will help the country diversify and bolster its exports and achieve durable and long-term economic stability.
It was in this backdrop that the first meeting of the CPEC Business Council under the Board of Investment (BoI) was held the other day in the federal capital. Addressing the meeting, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razaq Dawood said industrialization and agriculture growth would be the main goals of the current regime in the second phase of CPEC and expressed the confidence that Special Economic Zones would attract investment from diversified sources because they offered a combination of tax-and-tariff incentives, streamlined customs procedures and less regulation. Indeed these SEZs have been the engine of growth for many developing countries and it is now time for us to expedite efforts towards that end and convert the SEZs into real growth hubs. Exports of finished goods from these SEZs will greatly help the country address its trade deficit and earn valuable foreign exchange. As the forums such as CPEC Business Council have provided the platform to exploit potential of industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China, we should not waste time in complete operationalization of the SEZs and all bottlenecks in their way should be removed immediately with provision of all the facilities to the investors in order to make them successful enclaves and home to global supply chains. It is only through industrialization and agriculture growth that we can provide sufficient job opportunities to our youth. Simultaneously, technical institutes should be activitated to produce required trained and skilled workforce for the SEZs. Whilst China is set to relocate its industrial units to Pakistan, we should also hold seminars and conferences on the SEZs in other friendly countries in order to attract investment from there as well.