ISLAMABAD, Nov 23 (APP): Caretaker Minister of Commerce & Industry Gohar Ejaz and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, Jiang Zaidong in a meeting on Thursday discussed Pakistan-China Economic cooperation, especially in the fields of trade and Investment.
The focus of the discussions revolved around the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which has now entered its second stage, said a press release issued here.
Dr. Ejaz informed the Ambassador that the first phase of CPEC is at an advanced age at an inter-governmental level which has helped Pakistan to develop the infrastructure, road network, and power plants to meet energy needs and now the time has come for the private sectors of both countries to gear up to realise the benefits of the ground that has been prepared by the two governments.
Minister heralded the start of a new relationship initiated by consensus between President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar on the second stage of CPEC.
He urged the Chinese private sector to invest in Pakistan, with particular attention to SEZs in Lahore and Karachi.
He also informed the envoy that he met Ambassador Sha Zu Kang, President of Pak China Friendship Association, in China and they also agreed that this was the way forward.
The minister highlighted the importance of private sector collaboration as the next step in strengthening the Pak-China relationship, revealing plans for the development of a Northern SEZ to link Urumqi with Pakistan and the availability of the Lahore and Karachi SEZs for further development.
He informed the Ambassador that as a part of his “Vision Pakistan: Road to $100 billion Exports”, he has created two separate Export Advisory Councils for Textile and non-textile Sectors respectively.
The Councils would provide recommendations to the Ministry of Commerce on matters affecting export and would propose measures for export enhancement. These would meet on a monthly basis or with higher frequency if required.
“SMEs and the non-textile sectors are the key to Pakistan’s prosperity and progress,” said Dr. Ejaz.
The Non-Textile Export Advisory Council consists of the most renowned SMEs in Pakistan and includes names like Shehzad All Malik, (agricultural), Waheed Ahmed (fruit & vegetable), Khalil Sattar (processed chicken), Zulfiqar Malik (sports), Salman Hanif (jewellery), Adnan Hirani (pharmaceuticals), Zubair Tufail (chemicals), Jahangir Bajwa (IT), Abdur Razzak Gauhar (engineering), Shoaib Sultan (marble), Zulfiqar Hayat (leather), Shabbir Dewan (chemicals), Anwar Ghani (glass) and Fuad Garib (food).
The Textile Export Advisory Council consists of some of the biggest exporters of Pakistan. These include Musadaq Zulqarnain, Fawad Anwar, Shahid Soorty, Mian Ahsan, Yaqoob Ahmed, Amir Fayyaz Sheikh, Shahid Abdullah, Ahmed Kamal, and Ashraf Salim Mukaty.
He informed the Ambassador that as a follow-up to the visit of the Prime Minister to China last month, he will be taking a delegation of the three main groups to China from 11 to 15 December 2023.
In addition to the members of the two Export Advisory Councils mentioned above, the third group would include the CEOs of the top industrial groups in Pakistan.
These include Fawad Ahmed Mukhtar, Muhammad All Tabba, Waqar Ahmed Malik, Abdul Samad Dawood, Raza Mansha, Shahzad Asghar Ali, Samir Chinoy, Amir Fayyaz Sheikh, Shahbaz Yaseen Malik, Ahsan Bashir, Syed Hyder Ali and Farooq Naseem.
This multi-segmental delegation representing the business sector of Pakistan would hold meetings with their counterparts in China for trade and investment and the formation of joint ventures.
The Chinese Ambassador acknowledged the crucial role of the Commerce Ministry in promoting Pak-China trade and increasing Pakistani exports.
He further discussed the importance of key projects, including the upgrade of ML1 and the realignment of the Karakoram Highway. The significance of the northern region, particularly the work on the Khunjerab Pass, was also highlighted.
The minister emphasized the need to develop and operate Special Economic Zones and reiterated the importance of Gwadar Port. “Pakistan is focusing on sectors such as agriculture, mining, new energy, and IT under the framework of the SIFC” said Dr. Ejaz.
He further stated that the Ministry of Commerce played a crucial role especially concerning SEZs and the production of value-added goods.