Pakistan proposes several new areas under CPEC, MoUs likely next week

Pakistan proposes several new areas under CPEC, MoUs likely next week

ISLAMABAD, Oct 27 (APP):Pakistan on Thursday proposed inclusion of new areas of cooperation under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including post disaster reconstruction, global development initiatives, strengthening of digital investment in economy.

The proposals were made during the meeting of of 11th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC held here through video conference.

The meeting was co-chaired by Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal & Vice Chairman National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC), China Mr Lin Nianxiu.

Pakistan also proposed 1+5 arrangements for Special Economic Zones (SEZs), agreements between geological survey institutes of the two countries, agreement between Geological Survey Intuitions of the two countries, and cooperation to develop export potential of Pakistan.

Pakistan proposes several new areas under CPEC, MoUs likely next week

The Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) on the proposed areas are expected to be signed during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China on November 1, Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal said while addressing a press conferene here after the meeting.

He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, the CPEC has emerged as the topmost national priority of the Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership.

The Minister highlighted three basic objectives in the 11th JCC which includes the revival of CPEC, which has been revived since the government came into power in April this year.

The inclusion of new projects which will increase the CPEC’s portfolio and third was Business to Business cooperation, which was earlier based on Government to Government.

The JCC was organized keeping in view the important visit of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif to be scheduled on November 1, 2022 in which all important MoUs will be signed formally, said the minister.

The upcoming visit of Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif will be significant especially, at a time when President Xi Jinping of China has elected a third term as China leader, ” said the minister, while reiterating that the incumbent government has revived the CPEC which remained neglected in the past.

The JCC also highlighted the significance of the key projects for energy and infrastructure development; which are now operational and providing a myriad of opportunities for socio-economic development in Pakistan.

These projects include; 2×660 MW Port Qasim Power Plants, 2×660 MW Sahiwal Power Plant, 2×330 MW Engro Thar Power Plants; 50 MW Hydro China Dawood Wind Farm Thatta; 1000 MW Quaid e Azam Solar Park, Bahawalpur.

Similarly, in Infrastructure Projects, KKH Phase II (Havelian – Thakot Section), Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur Section), Hakla – D.I Khan Motorway and Orange Line Metro Train – Lahore has been completed.

The meeting was informed by the Ministry of Energy, 11 projects of over 6370 MW have been completed, along with an HVDC Transmission Line of 880 km. Three more projects of around 1200 MW are expected to be completed within 2023-24.

It was also informed that another 3100 MW which have achieved 90% milestones for FC (700 MW Azad Pattan HPP, 1124MW Kohala Hydel Project and 1320 MW Thar Coal Block-I), are finalized at the earliest so as to get closer to our envisaged target of 17000 MW.

The project in Motorways & Highways of around 888 Km was also highlighted which has been constructed with both Chinese and local financing (another 853 under construction through local financing). The KKH-Thakot-Havelian, one of the flagship projects of this sector, has received international recognition.

Similarly, another priority project, the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) was discussed in length which will benefit a large segment of the population of our largest city of Pakistan, Karachi.

The Provincial Government of Sindh has revised the project documents and its internal processing by GoP is being completed. The project is proposed to be implemented under G2G arrangement on the lines of Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project (OLMTP).

“We have fulfilled all the formalities to initiate this project as Cabinet also approved it,” said the minister, while highlighting the significance of the project which will have a great positive impact on Pakistan’s economy.

Both sides have also agreed to start the ML-1 project which was considered to be the backbone of the CPEC and remained neglected in the past. It was agreed to include a new area of “Water Resource Management and Climate Change which will have great importance especially after the recent flood which badly affected Pakistan.

Similarly, both sides have agreed to explore new avenues in the Mining sector and it was decided to set up a new working group to explore the sector.

The Government of Pakistan has also launched an initiative to include 10,000 MW of Solar energy in our system. The Government of Pakistan requested China to create a financing window or a credit line for Chinese companies participating in this project.

The Cooperation in Agriculture sector was also discussed in length in the 11th JCC, which is one of the essential elements of the second phase of CPEC.

Pakistan has finalized some agreements to promote export of Pakistani agricultural items to China which needs to substantially enhance the scope and scale of these products. The Ministry of National Food Security has proposed an MoU on Cooperation in Plant & Animal Quarantine and Phytosanitary Measures, which will help pave the way for exports of meat, vegetables and fruits to China. It is an important initiative and needs to be finalized urgently.

Similarly, the framework Agreement on Single Window Cooperation in inland Trade was also Proposed. Pakistan also proposed a mechanism for a new area of Water Resources Management and Climate Change in the CPEC framework, considering the enhanced vulnerability of Pakistan to climate events.

Pakistan also assured Chinese counterparts to continue to beef up the security of Chinese working under CPCE projects and in this regard several initiatives have been taken. Both sides have agreed to expand their cooperation in Information Technology and it was decided that Chinese companies will establish research centers in Pakistan to explore new avenues in this sector.

The Minster hoped that today’s deliberations in 11th JCC would give a new impetus to CPEC and it will begin a new era, leaving behind the legacy of the Covid period, which has affected our ability to have face to face meetings resulting in restricted interactions and consultations.

“The decisions we take today will go a long way in furthering the aims of the CPEC which has regained the same momentum as during 2013-18,” the minister concluded.

By Najam ul Hassan

Najam ul Hassan is a Sr. Reporter who reports on Prime Minister, President, Foreign Office, and special assignments.

APP Services