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Pakistan, China ink framework agreement under CPEC

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The objective of the Joint Working Group on Industrial Cooperation is to attract foreign direct investment, promote industrialization and development of economic zones.

ISLAMABAD/BEIJING: Pakistan and China on Friday inked the Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a day after the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s arrival in Beijing.

State Minister and Chairman Board of Investment (BOI) Muhammad Azfar Ahsan and Chairman National Development & Reform Commission (NRDC) of China He Lifeng signed the accord.

According to sources, the objective of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Industrial Cooperation is to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), promote industrialization and development of economic zones, and initiate, plan, execute and monitor projects, both in public as well as private sector.

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The engagement with China under JWG is envisaged to increase labour productivity in Pakistan, enhance industrial competitiveness, increase exports, and sustain diversification in exports basket.

During the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting of CPEC held in 2018, both sides had signed a Memorandum of Understanding that formed the basis for future engagements between the parties under the ambit of Industrial Cooperation.

As CPEC entered its second phase which primarily revolved around Special Economic Zones (SEZs) development and industrialization, the need for a comprehensive Framework Agreement became imperative.

Similar agreements have also been signed for Early Harvest CPEC Projects on energy and infrastructure. With continuous efforts of BOI, both sides reached the consensus to elevate the existing MoU into a Framework Agreement in 2020.

After extensive stakeholder consultations and with the approval of the Prime Minister, BOI shared the Draft Framework with NDRC in November 2020, which has been formulated keeping in consideration the needs of CPEC Phase II.

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