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Greater access to Chinese markets

PRIME Minister Imran Khan is paying a very important four-day visit to China from Thursday, during which, he will attend the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing besides holding talks with the Chinese leadership. A number of important agreements, including the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA), are scheduled to be signed which will undoubtedly help both the countries further bolster their trade and economic relations.
Addressing a news conference on Monday, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said that Beijing has agreed to provide 90% market access to Pakistani commodities under the revised FTA while in return Islamabad will provide 65% access of its market share to Chinese side. Indeed this is a positive development for Pakistan currently struggling to enhance its exports in order to deal with chronic issues such as balance of payment. The very contours of the fresh FTA clearly demonstrate that our Chinese friends want to take along Pakistan on the path of progress and development and it is now up to us including the industrial and agriculture sector to take maximum benefit from the concessions offered by Beijing. Actually, Pakistan has a vigorous product line including exclusive varieties of mangoes, oranges, basmati rice, leather, oilseeds and a variety of seafood from the fresh waters of the Arabian Sea, surgical goods, light engineering and several other raw materials, which have great potential to be exported to China on competitive rates. We really appreciate the Chinese leadership’s efforts for opening its markets to Pakistani products but also providing them a platform through the CPEC to link to the global trading. We also need to improve and upgrade our businesses through training, innovations and efficiency to meet the required Chinese and world standards. The visit of Prime Minister Imran Khan to China is also significant one as it will also see the CPEC entering into the second phase with agreement on launching of first Special Economic Zone at Rashakai is also to be signed. Our authorities should spare no effort to make this first economic zone a success story with the cooperation of Chinese friends as it will help the country attract more investment from other sources in other SEZs to be established under the corridor project. We are certain the success of SEZs will change the entire industrial landscape of the country and take it towards becoming one of the major regional economic powers.