In a meeting with Chairman China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)Authority Lieutenant General (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa on Monday, Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood said that the CPEC is a "transformational project".
FS Mahmood added that Pakistan and China were committed to the timely completion of the CPEC.
"There is a complete national consensus on CPEC's indispensability for our national development efforts," the foreign secretary underscored.
Reviewing the progress of CPEC projects, FS Mahmood maintained that CPEC energy and infrastructure projects have created thousands of jobs and has boosted industrial growth and productivity.
"It testified to the fact that CPEC's contribution to strengthen[ing] Pakistan’s economic landscape has been real and substantial," he emphasised.
The foreign secretary said that Pakistan's focus in CPEC's next phase is on industrialisation and socio-economic development, areas that will create vast jobs and growth opportunities for common people.
Three out of the nine CPEC SEZs, namely Rashakai, Dhabeji, and Allama Iqbal, have been prioritised and Pakistan would welcome foreign direct investment in those projects, he said.
FS Mahmood also said the government is particularly focused on strengthening agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China.
In that regard, a plan of action, detailing the contours of this collaboration, is already being discussed between the two governments, he said.
Meanwhile, Lt Gen (retd) Bajwa said that the CPEC Authority was committed to ensuring that projects were completed on time and hoped that the 10th JCC — likely to be held soon — will create more economic opportunities and contribute to further expansion of CPEC projects.
The CPEC Authority chairman reaffirmed that Pakistan would welcome the relocation of industry from China and in that regard will institute a regime that could encourage the inflow of Chinese investments to Pakistan.
It was reaffirmed in the meeting that post-COVID-19, through collective efforts of China and Pakistan, CPEC would become the hub for regional trade and connectivity and will deepen people-to-people exchanges at a wider level, the statement added.
Both countries also discuss enhancement of high-level engagements and dialogue mechanisms
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