Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said he looked forward to meeting the Chinese leadership for a series of “productive and fruitful meetings” aimed at boosting business, strategic and people-to-people relations.
Shehbaz Sharif, who is set to embark on a two-day visit to China on Tuesday, said Pakistan strongly needed to emulate the Chinese model of development for its sustainable progress and prosperity. Addressing here at the first steering committee meeting of the Pakistan China Business and Investment Forum (PCBIF), he emphasized creating favourable environment for building a business-to-business relationship.
“Let’s join hands and move forward to create a win-win situation for the Chinese and Pakistani businessmen and investors,” he said.
The prime minister mentioned the huge potential existing between the two countries and called for streamlining the business procedures in Pakistan to benefit from China being the second-largest economy in the world. He termed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a game-changer for development in Pakistan with billions of dollars of investment already committed by Chinese companies.
He also recalled how the CPEC projects resulted in helping Pakistan overcome its massive power outages. Pacing up the CPEC projects, he said, would not only boost dividends for Pakistan but also increase the country’s business presence in China.
He stressed the relocation of the labour-intensive Chinese industry to Pakistan in view of the cheap local labour by establishing Special Economic Zones, calling it a win-win scenario for the business houses of both countries.
In the agriculture sector, he proposed learning from the Chinese modern techniques to increase yield and establish in this regard agro-based industrial houses.
Shehbaz Sharif expressed confidence that launched in January, the PCBIF would promote business linkages besides identifying promising investment opportunities to nurture the business environment between the two countries. He expressed gratitude to China for being one of the largest donors of relief assistance for the flood-affected people in Pakistan and also for setting up an air bridge for the supply of tents, food, and medicine.
He lauded the efforts of Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong for his immense contribution towards strengthening Pak-China relations in diverse fields.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Dr Ahsan Iqbal terming Pakistan and China as iron brothers stressed the need to further exploit the potential of their economic cooperation. He said the CPEC had added a new dimension to the bilateral relations of Pakistan and hoped that PCBIF would encourage Chinese investment in Pakistan because the future belonged to “turning the iron brotherhood into economic partnership”.
He urged the PCBIF to work towards the inclusion of Pakistani enterprises into China’s global supply chain.“The best help China can provide to Pakistan is to help improve its export potential,” he said, adding that the government looked forward to building a robust private sector partnership with Chinese enterprises.
In this regard, he assured removing bottlenecks in a way to attract Chinese investors.
Federal Minister for Board of Investment Chaudhry Salik Hussain said BOI was fostering business cooperation between Pakistan and China and also signed a framework agreement on promoting Special Economic Zones and relocation of industries to Pakistan. Aimed at industrial cooperation, he said, the BOI had drafted a set of joint initiatives which would be submitted to the Chinese investors and enterprises during the visit of PM Shehbaz Sharif to China tomorrow. Chinese Ambassador and Patron PCBIF Nong Rong expressed satisfaction with the pace of work of the forum which included the holding of first-ever meeting of steering committee and the launch of an exclusive website.
He said China was always ready to support Pakistan in difficult times and mentioned the solidarity shown by the Chinese leadership for Pakistan in the wake of the unprecedented flood disaster resulting in the loss of lives and property.—APP