BEIJING, Dec 10 (APP): Pakistan on Thursday conferred civil award upon Zhong Shan, China’s Minister for Commerce in recognition of his outstanding services towards Pakistan and strengthening of Pakistan-China relations.

Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque, on behalf of the President of Pakistan, conferred the “Hilal-i-Pakistan” civil award at a special investiture ceremony held at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse here on Thursday.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador Haque said the award recognized Zhong’s contributions as a great friend of Pakistan and an ardent advocate of Pakistan-China friendship.

In his capacity as minister for commerce of China, he had been instrumental in promoting the 2nd phase of the Pakistan-China free-trade agreement FTA, which came into effect at the start of 2020, and facilitating Pakistan’s active participation in headline events such as the China International Import Expo and the 17th China-ASEAN Expo.

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Zhong Shan said the award was not only a personal honour bestowed by the president of Pakistan but also a symbol of the trust and confidence Pakistan reposed in the time-honoured all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.

China’s commerce ministry would continue to work for deepening economic and trade ties with Pakistan.

The ceremony was preceded by a meeting during which it was agreed to further promote Pakistan-China trade and economic relations in line with the consensus of the leadership of both countries and for the benefit of the two peoples.