Islamabad: “CPEC is a transformational project. There is a complete national consensus on CPEC’s indispensability for our national development efforts. Pakistan and China are firmly committed to the timely completion of CPEC projects and making it a High-Quality Demonstration Project of BRI”, this was underscored by Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood in a meeting with Chairman CPEC Authority, General (R) Asim Salim Bajwa.
Reviewing the progress of CPEC projects, Foreign Secretary maintained that CPEC energy and infrastructure projects had created thousands of jobs and had boosted industrial growth and productivity. It testified to the fact that CPEC’s contribution to strengthen Pakistan’s economic landscape has been real and substantial, he emphasized.
The Foreign Secretary underlined that Pakistan’s focus in the next Phase of CPEC was on industrialization and socio-economic development, areas that will create vast job and growth opportunities for the common people. Three out of the nine CPEC SEZs, namely Rashakai, Dhabeji and Allama Iqbal, have been prioritized and Pakistan would welcome foreign direct investment in those projects.
General (R) Asim Salim Bajwa underscored that the CPEC Authority was committed to ensuring that CPEC projects were completed on time. He hoped that the 10th JCC, likely to be held in the near future, will create more economic opportunities and contribute to further expansion of CPEC projects. He reaffirmed that Pakistan would welcome relocation of industry from China and in that regard will institute a regime that could encourage inflow of Chinese investments to Pakistan.
The Foreign Secretary underlined that the Government was particularly focused on strengthening agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China. In that regard, a Plan of Action, detailing the contours of this collaboration, was already being discussed between the two governments. The Foreign Secretary hoped that the Plan of Action will be expeditiously implemented.
It was reaffirmed in the meeting that post-COVID-19, through collective efforts of China and Pakistan, CPEC would become the hub for the regional trade and connectivity and will deepen people-to-people exchanges at a wider level.