The multi-billion dollars China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project has so far provided jobs to 70,000 Pakistanis during the last five years and will generate 0.7 million more employment opportunities in future, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing disclosed on Tuesday (3rd April, 2018).
During the ‘Breakfast with Jang’ on the ‘CPEC’s role in China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative’ at a local hotel, the ambassador said the corridor project consisted 43 initiatives valuing $50-$60 billion and the execution of 22 of them valuing $18 billion had been planned in the first five years.
“Eight projects have been successfully executed under the CPEC initiative, while work on 14 was under way,” he said. Mr Yao Jing said the CPEC was not meant for China and Pakistan only and instead, it would benefit the entire region. He said the corridor was the most important and best performing among the projects being executed as part of China’s One and One Road Initiative.
The ambassador said the CPEC project was overseen by the Sino-Pak Joint Coordination Committee, which had so far met seven times. He said under the corridor project, the development of four sectors of the economy as well as Gwadar city was in full swing. Mr Yao Jing said among Gwadar development plans were the establishment of an economic zone and food processing zone, construction of a power plant, installation of a water plant, and development of a vocational training institute. He said the CPEC project promised energy production, infrastructure development, building of highways, railway network’s expansion, and development of special economic zones in Pakistan.
“The CPEC will give Pakistan more than 20 special economic zones,” he said, adding that the working group has already visited the sites of these zones. He said China’s One and One Road Initiative was meant to bring about prosperity through economic development and thus, improving the people’s lives. He said the CPEC would equally benefit China and Pakistan and that it would not only promote economic development but would also increase regional cooperation for progress.
Mr Yao Jing said the corridor project had increased foreign investment in Pakistan, helped increase the country’s economic growth rate to the highest level in the last decade, and was causing the generation of massive employment opportunities.
He said more than 20 Chinese companies were to invest in Gwadar’s free economic zone and that all companies were fulfilling their corporate social responsibility in the CPEC project zones. The ambassador said the Chinese government encouraged and support the country’s companies in fulfilling their social responsibility to benefit the people and that they needed the local population’s support and cooperation.
He said the special economic zones being developed under the CPEC project would increase local exports. Mr Yao Jing said the dialogue was underway to revise the Sino-Pak free trade agreement to help end the trade imbalance.
He said China knew that Pakistani businessmen had reservations about bilateral trade imbalance and was striving to address them. “We’ve offered to end duty on 90 per cent of Pakistani exports under the trade agreement to facilitate bilateral trade and give Pakistanis more and more incentives,” he said.
The ambassador called for better interaction between Sino-Pak trade and business organisations. He thanked the Jang Media Group for inviting him to speak on the important CPEC topic.
Sarmad Ali, Managing Director (Marketing) at the Jang Media Group, welcomed the ambassador and guests and said some people had developed reservations about the CPEC project due to its negative projection at the international level and the close relations among media organisations of the two countries could help address them effectively. The ambassador announced that the Chinese government would ensure more Sino-Pak media exchanges in future to further the CPEC cause.
Sarmad Ali later presented a souvenir to the ambassador. The event was attended by the representatives of the Rawalpindi and Islamabad chambers of commerce and industry and Women Chamber of Commerce, and a large number of businessmen and industrialists.
(Source: The News)