TIANJIN (Northern China): Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf arrived here on Monday evening to attend the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Annual Meeting of the New Champions.
He was received here by Mayor of Tianjin Zhang Jun Fang and Pakistan’s Ambassador in China Masood Khan at the Binhali International Airport. First lady Nusrat Raja, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Foreign Secretary Syed Jalil Abbas, chief of protocol and additional foreign secretary Ghalib Iqbal accompanied the prime minister. Prime Minister Raja travelled in a smaller plane with a small entourage as an austerity measure.
The PM, who will stay here in the port city bounded by the Bohali Gulf extension of the Yellow Sea for three days, went into working business immediately after his arrival and he was briefed by the envoy about the situation in the host country and the activities regarding the forum.
Prime Minister Raja will attend several sessions of the WEF, also widely known as Summer Davos. The forum will be formally inaugurated by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today (Tuesday). The prime minister will be the main speaker in the forum’s session titled: ‘An insight, An idea with Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz’. This session will be dedicated to the role and performance of Pakistan. The premier will also deliver a speech on the ‘Regional situation: Pakistan’s perspective.’ He will also deliberate on the geopolitical and economic matters affecting the South Asia region.
The prime minister will lead a discussion in the session titled ‘Business interaction group on Pakistan.’ It will be moderated by the Asia head of the WEF. He will also take part as a panellist in other sessions including an informal gathering of the forum’s leaders.
Prime Minister Raja will hold a bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. He will also meet other world leaders, including the prime minister of Denmark and prominent figures of the business community.
Terming the visit of Prime Minister Raja significant, Ambassador Masood Khan said: “The PM’s active participation in the forum will provide him an opportunity to contribute to policy decisions broadly.”
“China’s emergence as a growing economic power has intensified the significance of New Champions meeting and Pakistan’s presence at the forum relates to its efforts to learn and benefit from China’s economic policies,” the ambassador told the media.
Ambassador Masood Khan said that the prime minister’s first meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao would focus on strengthening the bilateral ties and enhancing economic cooperation. “The two leaders will also discuss development projects being carried out with collaboration,” he added.
He said in the past four years, the overall Pakistan-China trade volume had increased by 70 percent, whereas Pakistan’s exports to China doubled to $2.2 billion. The ambassador said he hoped that the two countries would easily achieve the target of $15 billion bilateral trade by 2015. The WEF’s New Champions meeting is led by the forum’s growing global growth companies as well as the communities of Technology Pioneers, Young Global Leaders, Global Shapers and Young Scientists. The meeting is aimed at highlighting the role that new and fast-emerging multinational companies play in enabling and driving sustainability in a global business landscape that has been fundamentally changed by the economic crisis.
Our correspondent adds from Islamabad: Talking to reporters at the Chaklala Airbase before leaving for China, PM Raja said the WEF was an important forum to interact with world leaders, economic experts and heads of international financial institutions. He said he would also interact with Chinese leaders, especially the premier of China, and discuss issues relating to cooperation in trade, economic and energy sector. “China is a trustworthy friend and always supported Pakistan all times,” he added. He said the issue of Gwadar Port and more cooperation in the energy sector would be especially discussed by him during his meeting with the Chinese leadership.