ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have agreed to promote investment and industrial cooperation on a fast track basis.
This was reaffirmed during the 15th session of Pakistan-China Joint Economic Committee on Economy, Trade, Scientific & Technical Cooperation.
The virtual meeting of JEC was co-chaired by Vice Minister of China Ren Hongbin and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Pakistan Mian Asad Hayaud Din. Both sides also discussed the matters relating to development projects in energy, infrastructure and social sectors.
Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan commended the government of China for hosting the 15th Session of JEC after a long gap of eleven years. He expressed his satisfaction at the completion of seventy-years of everlasting and unprecedented bilateral friendship between Pakistan and China.
To highlight the significance of the event, the minister referred to the bilateral agreement for establishment of the Joint Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific & Technical Cooperation (JEC), signed in 1982, and called it the basis of bilateral cooperation. He expressed that Pakistan and China have always supported each other at every front.
He said that Pakistan was among the first countries to show its solidarity with China at the time of outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic and Pakistan’s president paid a visit to Beijing amid the pandemic. Similarly, the government of China has also been supporting Pakistan in pandemic mitigation measures from the very beginning of the pandemic.
In order to support the government of Pakistan’s drive for mass vaccination, Chinese companies supplied Covid-19 vaccines on priority. The Government of China also provided over 4 million doses of vaccine to Pakistan free of cost, he added.
The minister highlighted that Pakistan and China are entering into the next phase of CPEC, where Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being established. The SEZs would be helpful in attracting foreign direct investment, establishing industrial units, creating employment opportunities and boosting economic activities in the country.
Similarly, operationalisation of Gwadar Port will also create momentum in the external trade. China has been Pakistan’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years since 2015. At present, China is Pakistan’s main source of imports and second-largest export destination, he further said.
The minister highlighted that Pakistan has immense investment opportunities in various sectors. Pakistan provides a conducive and liberal investment environment to foreign investors and entrepreneurs. All foreign investments are fully protected under Foreign Private Investment Promotion & Protection Act, 1976 and Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992, he added.
He said that SEZs are also being established to meet the global challenges of competitiveness with the state-of-the-art infrastructure and connectivity. The SEZ incentive package includes exemption from income tax for ten-years and one-time exemption from all custom-duties and taxes on import of capital goods.
He further said that textile, leather, pharmaceutical and surgical industries of Pakistan are considered as best in the world and our products are exported around the globe. Accordingly, Chinese investors can benefit from the huge potential of Pakistan’s industrial sector.
He said that in this regard, Small & Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and Board of Investment of Pakistan can collaborate with Chinese counterparts for enhancing cooperation in the industrial sector.
Furthermore, agriculture is another very important sector of the economy, especially for food security and rural development. He emphasised, “We are looking forward to mutual cooperation in the areas of agricultural research, enhanced productivity, value addition and food processing through establishment of joint ventures and business-to-business contacts.”
In his concluding remarks, Ren Hongbin, Vice Minister of China commented that the fruitful discussions on bilateral economic relations between delegates of the two countries will meet the objectives of deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries.
He also hoped that the next session of Pak-China JEC will be held soon in Pakistan. He reiterated that Pak-China relationship is everlasting and bound to continue on good terms in the future.