Chinese Ambassador Mr. Yao Jing called on Federal Minister for National Food Security and Research Mr. Sahibzada Muhammad Mehboob Sultan today in Islamabad.
Pakistan and China are members of various organizations and being member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Pakistan has endorsed agreement on cooperation in agriculture between the governments of the member states of the organization. China produces food for 20% of the world’s population and it also imports huge quantity of food for its population. China is a strong force in South Asian region and CPEC opened up new venues of cooperation between two friendly neighbors.
The Minister said that China is the 4th largest export market of Pakistan. It is heartening that both countries have signed free trade agreement (FTA) which has facilitated to expand bilateral trade. He further said that the Honorable Prime Minister’s visit in the first week of November, 2018 was very important as both sides signed (MoU) also on agriculture cooperation has also been signed on the same occasion followed by Chinese delegation’s visit to the Ministry of National Food Security.
Chinese Ambassador Yao Ying said that we will formally invite Pak experts to monitor the hybrid rice seed experts to China and monitor the facility. Federal Minister said we are ready to resolve the issue of export of Chinese hybrid seed to Pakistan. The matter would be resolved through formal procedure of diplomatic channel.
Federal Minister Mehboob Sultan said that we are moving ahead to collaborate in achieving FMD free zone and a memorandum of requirements for the establishment of FMD free zone is currently negotiated by both sides. He added that we believe in ease of doing business and if we collaborate for the elimination of FMD it will boost our meat export to China.
Mehboob Sultan extended his invitation to Chinese experts to visit the three districts of Punjab which are identified as FMD free zone. He also expressed his desire that both countries in coming joint Working Group meeting, to deliberate upon working on establishing FMD vaccine plant in Pakistan with the Chinese assistance; and move towards self reliance in the subject.
Mr. Yao Jing said that Chinese companies are interested to come and build Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in all areas and agriculture is one of the six major areas identified by Chinese government.
Federal Minister said that we could identify and start working on areas of mutual benefit in the field of agriculture before the Belt and Road Conference in April 27th, 2019 in China. He added that we would welcome the experts in cotton, rice, cage culture fisheries and citrus to Pakistan, we are open to learn from those experts as our ultimate goal is to move towards food security, zero hunger and ultimately poverty alleviation.
Federal Minister said that it is highly commendable that fully funded courses for capacity building of Agro Scientists, researchers are arranged in China which will immensely benefit our research institutions for we shall replicate those useful agro technologies which would bring us closer to achieving the food security.
It is pertinent to mention that on the request of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research Chinese side organized specialized training programs on hybrid rice technology; (one in China and second in Pakistan).
Mehboob Sultan said that it is a great relief that both sides have actively tracked the cooperation/commitment during the 8th Session of Joint Co-ordination Committee meeting held in China in December last year and Secretary M/o NFS&R is also the member of JCC.
On the request of Ministry of National Food Security and Research, it was agreed that China would urgently initiate the process of potato export to China after fulfilling the SPS requirements. It was agreed that a delegation of experts would soon visit Pakistan to finalize the arrangements.
The Minister stated that we are looking forward to the implementation of MoU signed during the visit of the Honorable Prime Minister and to discuss matters of mutual benefits in first meeting of the Joint Working Group meeting (JWG) going to be held in February this year in Pakistan.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan said that China wants to build stronger socio-economic ties with Pakistan on the basis of reciprocity, he added that China wants to buy more and import more from Pakistan and most desirable food items are cherries, potato, wheat, citrus, rice and mangoes.
Federal Minister expressed his pleasure and satisfaction that bilateral relations are growing in right direction and will be in mutual interest of both the countries and cooperation in the area of agriculture which is life line of our economy is most desirable.
Federal Secretary and other senior officials were also present in the meeting.