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October 23, 2019

Rashakai economic zone to be inaugurated next month


October 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan on Tuesday agreed to inaugurate the first economic zone out of the nine envisaged under the Chinese-funded framework next month, as the development in the industrial area is nearing completion.

The decision was taken at the joint working group of CPEC industrial cooperation meeting via videoconference. Board of Investment Executive Director General II Qasim Raza Khan and National Development and Reform Commission of China Deputy Director General Gao Jian co-chaired the meeting. Officials from line ministries, provincial governments and embassies attended the meeting.

An official told The News that there are dozens of Chinese and local companies waiting to be joined.

Experts believe that mega project is a major opportunity to change the economic geographies of both the countries, especially of Pakistan under which both the countries plan to establish SEZs alongside the corridor in years to come.

Both sides agreed to jointly accelerate the efforts to enhance the level of industrial cooperation by ensuring concentrated efforts with early provision of utilities and allocation of land. They also discussed the possibility of up-gradation of Pakistan Steel Mills.

Pakistan and China agreed to enhance business to business linkages to facilitate increased level of investment from Chinese enterprises and enhance industrial competitiveness of business in Pakistan through technology transfer, world class managerial and industrial practices and skills transfer.

Both the sides also reviewed progress on prioritised CPEC SEZs including Rashakai, Dhabeji, Alama Iqbal Industrial City. Development agreement related to Rashakai economic zone is in the final stage.

Chinese side expressed keen interest to participate in the bidding process for Dhabheji SEZ. In the process of industrial diagnosis of key industries, the Chinese experts informed that the report of the textile industry diagnosis is ready and would soon be shared by Chinese side.

Under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework, nine economic zones dedicated to industrial development with incentives were to be set up.

The $60 billion CPEC kick-started five years back concentrating mainly on construction of roads and motorways and power plants to ensure energy security in the wake of massive power shortfall.

Within a last couple of years, a series of power projects transformed the country into energy-surplus destination from the power-deficient one. CPEC framework envisaged 10,000 megawatts of production capacity.

Special economic zones are the next crucial component after early harvest projects under CPEC. Initially, 27 zones were expected to be set up. The number was now reduced to nine.

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