Wang’s visit

CHINESE Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his three-day visit to Islamabad on Sunday during which he held very useful discussions both with the civilian and military leadership. As was expected, focus of these discussions was multi billion dollars China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (CPEC), that has the potential to transform economic landscape of the entire region.
It is however unfortunate that some elements have time and again tried to throw the dust on this strategically important project in order to jeopardise interests of Pakistan. We understand, visit of Chinese FM at this juncture was important for many reasons. Firstly, as a new government has taken charge, it provided an opportunity to both sides to discuss future course of cooperation as well as offset misperceptions surrounding the mega project. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmoud Qureshi while addressing joint news conference with his Chinese counterpart categorically made it clear that the CPEC will remain priority of the new government. This statement will definitely allay concerns generated by Prime Minister Imran Khan remarks during a talk with senior anchors that his government will review all international agreements. Qureshi’s statement will definitely give an impetus to Chinese to invest in CPEC related and other projects in Pakistan. Wang also dispelled the impression and criticism that the mega corridor project has saddled Pakistan with expensive debt. Indeed this project envisages enormous opportunities for both the countries and especially as also pointed out by Wang, when most of the projects under the CPEC will get completed; these will unleash huge economic benefits and create considerable economic returns to the country.
Undoubtedly, establishment of free economic zones will also help the PTI government to fulfil its promise of providing jobs to millions of youth. It is time that the government speeds up work for establishment of these zones, which will also bolster our exports and address our economic woes. The Chinese FM has also assured of giving a lot of sustenance to encourage imports from Pakistan. Currently, the trade balance is not in our favour and that is why the two countries are also renegotiating the FTA. One expects that the Chinese side will give favourable consideration to Pakistani request to reduce its tariff and duties on our products, which will definitely help both the sides to further bolster trade and economic relations. Both the countries have always stood by each other in good and bad times and it is important to make exchanges at different levels a regulator feature in order to exploit new opportunities of cooperation in different fields.

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