Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Tuesday exchanged views on deepening bilateral trade and economic partnership, and explored ways of increasing Pakistan’s exports to China.
During the meeting, both the leaders agreed that the implementation of the 2nd phase of China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA) would lead to more trade, economic and investment opportunities between the two countries.
Other areas of potential collaboration discussed in the meeting included railways, steel, oil and gas, industry and science & technology, a PM Office press release said.
Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is on a two-day official visit of China -third visit in 13 months, on arrival at the Great Hall was presented a guard of honour, accompanied by a 19-gun salute.
Extending felicitations on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the prime minister underscored that the all-weather strategic cooperative partnership between Pakistan and China served the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples, and contributed to peace, development and stability in the region.
He emphasized that expeditious completion of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects was the foremost priority of his government as the transformational project was pivotal to accelerating Pakistan’s economic development and regional prosperity.
Premier Li was apprised of the actions undertaken recently to fast-track CPEC projects and to push the development momentum in Gwadar.
Premier Li underlined the salience of the abiding Pakistan-China relationship and reiterated China’s support for Pakistan’s issues of core national interest. He thanked Prime Minister Imran Khan for the measures to advance the CPEC projects and maintained that the second phase of CPEC would be instrumental in reinforcing and consolidating Pakistan’s economic development and pave the way for enhanced Chinese investments in Pakistan.
The two sides also discussed regional security situation, including serious human rights and humanitarian situation in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.
Prime Minister Imran Khan apprised Premier Li of the latest developments and the importance of urgent action by the international community to alleviate the sufferings of the Kashmiri people in the lockdown.
Both the leaders maintained that frequent and substantive bilateral exchanges were contributing to elevating the all-weather strategic co-operative partnership to new heights and were reinforcing people-to-people ties.The two leaders also witnessed signing of various agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) aimed at deepening Pakistan-China ties in a range of socio-economic sectors.
Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated his invitation to Premier Li to visit Pakistan at the earliest opportunity.
Foreign Minister, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Minister for Railways, Advisor on Commerce, Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Energy, and Board of Investment Chairman, Chief of Army Staff, Inter-Services Intelligence Director General, and other senior officials were present.
The bilateral talks were followed by a banquet hosted by Premier Li.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said his government would like to follow China’s model fighting out corruption and promoting good governance at all levels.
He said corruption is one of the biggest impediments to investments coming into the country. Addressing the China Council for Promotion of International Trade, PM appreciated President Xi Jinping’s campaign against corruption.
“One of President’s Xi’s crusades has been against corruption and from I hear that some 400 ministerial-level people in the last five years have been convicted of corruption and put behind jail,” Imran said.
He continued, “This is important not only for Pakistan but for most of the developing world because corruption stops investment. Corruption is one of the biggest impediments to the investments coming into your country.”
“Firms will invest in economies that are cleaner,” the prime minister said.
“I wish I could follow President Xi’s example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail,” PM Imran remarked.
In context of Sino-Pak growing economic ties, he said the government was committed to providing an investor-friendly environment to the Chinese investors.
Hailing the economic progress made by China, the prime minister said the way it [China]has lifted seven hundred million people out of poverty in the last thirty years was an example for the whole world.The prime minister also invited the Chinese companies to invest in the diverse sectors of Pakistan including housing, textile, manufacturing, IT and financial services, physical and technological logistics, agriculture, oil and gas and tourism and hospitality.
He added, “Pakistan is opening up for the businesses and it was a great time for the Chinese companies to invest in the country.”
Assuring the participants that the prime minister’s office will be dealing with all the major investments, PM Imran said all CPEC related investments will also be dealt from the PM office in order to remove all the hurdles in the way of investors.
He added Pakistan was encouraging the businesses to make big profits as the wealth creation will enable us to lift the people out of poverty on the pattern of China.
Speaking about Gawadar, the prime minister said Gwadar smart port city master plan has been approved. “Work on Gwadar airport is in progress and it will be completed soon,” PM Imran said, “We are now especially concentrating on our Special Economic Zones.”
The premier further said Pakistan was encouraging businesses to make big profits as the wealth creation will enable us to lift the people out of poverty on the pattern of China.
He added the present government has also liberalized the visa regime so that the Chinese can get the visas on arrival at the airport. “This facility has been extended to many other countries as well,” he noted.
Alluding to the geo-strategic location of Pakistan, the prime minister said Pakistan’s unique location and its young and vibrant population makes it the attractive country for investment.