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March 11, 2020

China has no objection to foreign investment in SEZs under CPEC: envoy

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March 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: China’s Ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing has said that Beijing would welcome investment into Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs) from other countries. He also said that the Chinese investors were showing keen interest to invest in these SEZs.

“The private businesses have come into joint ventures (JVs) of tyres, manufacturing of buses and trucks and textiles in the last six months. More Chinese investors are interested to come and invest in the SEZs. We welcome the participation of other countries intoSEZs under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC),” the Chinese ambassador said during the "Dialogue on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC and SEZs Framework" organized by the Board of Investment here on Tuesday. The Chinese Ambassador, Yao Jing, and PM's Adviser on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, also addressed the event, which was also attended by businessmen, academia, government officials, members of diplomatic community and other important stakeholders.

Ambassador Jing said that the second phase of CPEC would engage the private sector, local community and the society at large. He underlined that the current phase of CPEC would cover industrial cooperation, agriculture cooperation, social protection, poverty alleviation and cooperation in science and technology to boost the economy of Pakistan and to raise the the level of skills and living standards of the population. He added that the CPEC objectives are for the mutual benefit of both countries. The ambassador also appreciated the vision of the government under Prime Minister Imran Khan.

The Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Abdul Razak Dawood, said that Pakistan overcame the energy crisis with Chinese help and now Islamabad was seeking assistance in areas of agriculture, industrial cooperation and up-gradation of main rail line. “Our strategy for the future of Pakistan is being prepared considering China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and Special Economic Zones being developed under CPEC,” he said. Dawood laid out the framework of the economic development strategy and said that the future lies in export-led growth strategy, making SEZs development vital to improve the capacity and to complement the export requirements of the country.

Dawood further explained that Pakistan’s economy faced a lot of challenges in terms of fiscal and current account deficits and required serious steps in terms of devaluation, control on imports and government expenditures. He apprised the participants that export-led growth strategy has started bearing fruits as Pakistan has posted 13.6% growth in exports, in February 2020, in terms of value, while all other regional competitors showed a decreasing trend. The adviser appreciated the efforts of exporters and businessmen for achieving this result and showed his gratitude for China for the phase II of the Free Trade Agreement, which is poised to further boost the growth in overall exports of Pakistan. Explaining the objective of Special Economic Zones under CPEC, Dawood said that the SEZs are open for businessmen from all countries and nationalities, as the lucrative incentives under SEZs are the same for everyone. He added that investments in various sectors have started to pour in and it will pick up pace in the coming days. He underscored that the second phase of CPEC was focused around industrial and agricultural cooperation, while the next phase would be about connectivity with regional and global markets, as a part of the overall Belt and Road Initiative.

At the beginning of the event, Secretary BOI, Omer Rasul, welcomed the chief guests and other participants to the event. The event ‘Dialogue on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC and SEZs Framework’ was organized by the Project Management Unit of Industrial Cooperation, under the Board of Investment. After the opening session and remarks by the distinguished guests, a session on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC was held comprising insights from different stakeholders. The concluding session covered SEZs and Industrial Cooperation Framework, which included panel discussions to generate debate on different policy issues.