ISLAMABAD: Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong on Monday said that the implementation process of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was going on smoothly as it enjoyed the support and backing of the people.
Addressing the opening session of the two-day Pak-China Business opportunities conference here, he said the Chinese government was encouraging its entrepreneurs to invest in Pakistan. Now direct investment in Pakistan had reached to $3.6 billion, which was highest in South Asiaand this trend would continue in the years to come.
The conference, organized by the Ministry of Commerce, was being attended by a large number of Chinese entrepreneurs, who arrived here Sunday night, with former ambassador to Pakistan Sha Zukang as their leader. Commerce Minister Khurram Dastgir Khan welcomed the Chinese guests and highlighted the conference’s objectives, hoping it would lead to maximum Chinese investment in the country for their mutual benefit.
Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal, inaugurating the conference, said that the CPEC had become an integral part of Sino-Pak economic partnership. This flag-ship and role model project would bring their economic relationship to a new height, hopefully matching to their diplomatic ties. The CPEC, he said, was the centre of country’s economic agenda.
Inviting the foreign investment, the minister said that Pakistan enjoyed rich potential of human and natural resources, which could be exploited for common benefit.
Leader of the Chinese delegation Sha Zukang spoke high of decades’ old Pak-China strategic partnership and said the businessmen were delighted to visit this country, hoping their stay here would be result-oriented in expanding investment network. The visiting Chinese companies, he said, were inclined to develop trade and economic ties with Pakistan and were looking forward for extensive interaction with their Pakistani counterparts.
Ambassador Sun Weidong said that Pak-China business conference was testimony to the fact that Pakistan attached great importance to its economic ties with China. He hoped that the visiting entrepreneurs would explore the available opportunities to meet the wishes and aspirations of their people and the leadership.
He recalled that the 2015 was the milestone year in their economic interaction. He referred to the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping and said that it had opened a new chapter of their relationship. Series of social and economic activities took place in the recent year, which brought them more still closer.
His country, the ambassador said, was ready to extend all possible cooperation to its “iron brother”, bringing the economic ties to a new height. “Our friendship is deep-rooted and their resources are complimentary to each other,” he added.
He noted that there had been considerable increase in volume of trade between the two countries in the recent years, while China’s direct investment in Pakistan was also showing upward trend. Pakistan, he said, had emerged as China’s largest investment destination in the region. They were going through win-win and mutually beneficially cooperative partnership that would ultimately ensure peace, progress and prosperity for their people. The CPEC had given a new impetus to their economic ties, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal termed the CPEC a transformation project, which, he hoped, would lead to economic well-being of the entire region and achieve the objective of connectivity with the rest of the world.
Pakistan and China enjoyed community of shared destiny and it was natural for them to work together for a common cause.
Underlying the importance of developing geo-economic relationship, the minister hoped that the business community of the two countries would capitalize the historically opportunity that had been provided through the CPEC. He noted that all projects under CPEC were progressing with fast pace.
Khurrum Dastgir Khan further said that the CPEC had opened new avenues of their bilateral cooperation. It also served as a major pillar of Pakistan’s connectivity plan to have access to the world market.
He said the trade volume between the two countries had reached to $12.3 billion. A new trade policy would be announced soon that would give further boost to the trade with China and other countries. New legislation would also be introduced for establishment of economic zones, he added.