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‘Youth must be trained, assisted to take benefit of CPEC’

SARGODHA-Pakistan having one of the largest youth bulge can take benefit from China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by organising training and assisting youth in materializing their business ideas on financial management, growth strategies, marketing and sales funnels and strategic partnerships.

These views were expressed by Obortunity Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hamza Saeed Orakzai at Sargodha University on Thursday. A special lecture on ‘CPEC-Driven Entrepreneurship’ was organized by Pakistan Institute of China Studies (PICS) Sargodha University as part of distinguished scholar lecture series.

In his opening remarks, Director PICS Dr Fazalur Rahman said that distinguished guest lectures series was aimed at enriching knowledge and fostering understanding of the students and young faculty members of the university about political, economic and social scenario of the region while its main focus is to acquaint the concerned with various aspects of CPEC, industry-specific training and skill building, and CPEC-driven entrepreneurship.

Dr Fazal-ur-Rahman stated that CPEC would help Pakistan to attract investors to invest along the corridor, opening opportunities to become entrepreneurs and would create jobs and business opportunities for the locals.

Briefing about the CPEC driven entrepreneurship opportunities, Hamza Orakzai said that the One Belt, One Road Initiative, the mother project of CPEC is set to change the economic and political dynamics not only in our region, but across the globe and opportunity for everyone. Brain drain is a big issue here in Pakistan, he said adding that regarding entrepreneurship the educational institutes could play vital role in grooming young minds.

Orakzai emphasized on focusing research and development, generating ideas and engaging opportunities in order to get benefit from CPEC as the markets will become more competitive in future. He also talked about how people as nation can be benefited from demographic dividends and come up with a sustainable growth model for a better future.

He said that entrepreneurship delineates the ability of a nation to generate wealth, produce goods and services, create jobs and transform ideas and knowledge into commercial activities. Pakistan is facing a challenge of unemployed youth rapidly entering the labour market that poses several risks to prosperity and stability, he added.

Orakzai further added that Pakistan’s thriving and talented youth offer tremendous hope. What is required is to engage youth in entrepreneurial activities; realignment of education system, reshaping policy ambiance, crafting entrepreneurial ecosystems and reorienting societal values, he said.

It is worth-mentioning that Obortunity is leading firm which trained 1000 plus professionals on CPEC-driven education and opportunities; hosted 5 business expeditions in Gwadar and Gilgit-Baltistan serving more than 100 businesses in real-estate and project development.

Source:The Nation

Date:24/01/2020

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Textile cooperation framework under CPEC agreed

Pakistani and Chinese experts on Wednesday agreed to develop a textile cooperation framework under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to enhance ready-made garments, man-made fiber and textile skill training.

Qasim Raza Khan, executive director general, Board of Investment (BOI) said the CPEC had now entered into the pragmatic phase of Industrial cooperation, and it was the right time to take Pakistan forward on the path of industrialization.

“It has been agreed that the Chinese side will continue to provide intellectual and technical support to accelerate Pakistan’s priority sectors especially through the nine SEZs of Pakistan under CPEC wherein three SEZs have been prioritised and are now at an advanced stage of development,” Khan said at a one-day workshop organized by the BOI to deliberate on a diagnostic study on Pakistan’s textile sector, conducted by the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China and China International Engineering Consulting Corporation (CIECC).

The textile diagnostic report provided the Chinese viewpoints on the potentials and barriers of large-scale textile mills in Pakistan. The report was also one of the deliverable of the 9th JCC held in 2019 and is a precursor to a more detailed work on the textile sector of Pakistan.

Khan said he is confident that through this cooperation, many Chinese companies would reap benefits of Pakistan’s competitive advantages. Asim Ayub, project director of the Project Management Unit (PMU) BoI said the trade potential between the two neighboring countries had to be transformed into investment potential.

He specified three main areas of cooperation where Chinese could provide support to Pakistan with the objective of developing a textile cooperation framework. These areas include ready-made garments, man-made fiber and textile skill training.

Executive Director APTMA, Sattar Shahid was of the view that for any meaningful investment to be made, there was a need to fix the business climate i.e. effective contract enforcement.

He proposed the need for an efficient and workable bankruptcy law, besides the tariff sector of Pakistan needed to be revisited.

Chairman PRAGMEA, Shaikh Mohammad Shafiq was of the perspective that large scale units of Pakistan were only 20 percent of the total while SMEs comprised of nearly 80 percent.

“Majority of the concessional tariff lines involved in CPFTA-II was related to the textile sector which held a huge opportunity for Pakistan,” he added

“There exists a great potential for cooperation in the value-added textile section and

artificial fiber area by gaining technical expertise from the Chinese side.” The author of the Diagnostic study, Dr. Du Zhen Li, Deputy Director General of CIECC and the focal person on Joint Working Group (JWG) – Industrial cooperation (IC) from Chinese side, joined the workshop through a Video-con and shared that the Textile sector of Pakistan is chosen for the study based on its significance as an important industry, prioritized by the government of Pakistan.

Further, the Chinese Business community needed more information to understand the Textile industry of Pakistan in the backdrop of CPEC.:

Source:The News

Date:24/01/2020

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Pakistan remains grateful to China for CPEC, PM Imran tells CNBC

Prime Minister Imran Khan has roundly rejected the notion being projected by US officials that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is some sort of a debt trap.

In an interview with American media outlet CNBC, PM Imran said: “Pakistan is grateful to China as they helped us in difficult times by making investments.

“We were at rock bottom when the Chinese [government] came and rescued us,” the PM said.

Responding to a question, the prime minister rejected the impression that CPEC has made Pakistan ‘indebted’ to China.

He pointed out that Chinese loans account for only 5-6 per cent of Pakistan’s total loan portfolio.

He said CPEC envisages cooperation in different sectors, including technology transfer in the agriculture sector, and “because of Chinese investment, we have been able to attract more foreign investment in the country. We are establishing special economic zones under the project.”

Kashmir dispute

In the same interview, PM Imran also called upon US President Donald Trump and the United Nations to intervene for the resolution of the Kashmir dispute.

He said Kashmir is a far more serious problem than the world realises.

He said India has been taken over by the extremist Hindutva ideology embodied by the far-right party RSS, and recalled that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a life member of this extremist outfit.

Referring to the situation in occupied Kashmir, he said eight million people have been living under siege since August 5 last year.

“The Indian forces have picked up thousands of Kashmiri teenagers and arrested all their political leaders,” he noted.

The premier described it as a serious situation and warned that the friction could potentially spill over into a conflict between two nuclear-armed countries.

Iran willing to talk

When asked about tensions in the Middle East and the ongoing conflict between the US and Iran, the prime minister said war is not a solution to any problem.

He warned that a conflict with Iran will be disastrous for developing countries as it will lead to a sharp spike in oil prices.

He said the sensible way forward is dialogue.

“The US has spent more than a trillion dollars in Afghanistan and still people are dying there. Let me tell you, Iran will be more difficult.”

“And I told the same thing to [US] President [Donald] Trump, that war is not the solution.”

On the question of possibilities for a dialogue between the two countries, he said, “The Iranian leadership is receptive of the option”.

“They were willing to talk,” he said.

The prime minister made it clear that Pakistan will only be a partner in peace. He reminded the interviewer that Pakistan had suffered heavily both in terms of human and material losses in the war on terrorism.

Pak-US ties based on shared objectives

When asked to comment on the mistrust between the two countries and how can they can come closer, the prime minister said problems occurred when former military ruler Pervez Musharraf joined the US war in Afghanistan.

“The US kept asking Pakistan to do more and Musharraf promised them what he could not deliver.”

But now, the PM said, “this time [our relationship] is based on trust and common objectives”.

“Both of us are on the same page that there’s no military solution in Afghanistan and we are working hard to bring peace to the country.”

PM Imran said Pakistan is now a safe country and ready for business. Hailing the sacrifices rendered by security forces in the war on terrorism, he said Pakistan has disarmed militias and rehabilitated them.

Source: The News

Date:24/01/2020

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BRI: Catalyst for Global Peace & Economic Prosperity

Ever-since China announced the ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ (BRI) in 2013, two dominant opinions are being debated at international level on this massive global project. The optimists believe that BRI is a unique, incomparable and colossal global project which connects Asia through Eurasian region with Europe and Africa with a lot of promises. This class of international relations’ scholars considers BRI as a mega-project, aiming at improving regional and global connectivity and cooperation through development of communication infrastructure among countries lying on the ancient Silk Road and beyond.

The pessimists on the other hand, visualize BRI from the perspective of growing Chinese influence. This class of political scientists believes in the zero-sum game; the Chinese gain is directly proportional to their losses in the wider arena of international politics. At the global level, the Chinese rise is being viewed with a lot of skepticism by sole superpower and its allies. They see the Chinese rise as a threat to the existing world order, where the superpower has the flexibility of imposing its will, as and when it desires. Nevertheless, so far the Chinese rise has been more pronounced in the economic sphere where the US is its biggest trading partner at the international level while Japan is its major regional trading partner in East Asian region. Even India enjoys the status of a major trading partner of China with over $100 billion bilateral trade annually. This reflects that Chinese rise is peaceful, all-encompassing and beneficial for all. Chinese economic development has been beneficial for the neighbors like ‘a rising tide lifts all boats’.

In the post-cold war era, US/EU have been the leading beneficiaries of Chinese economic development and trade between East and West. As per Office of United States Trade Representative, China is the largest trading partner of US in goods. Besides the US, the EU and China are two of the world’s prime traders. Despite economic cold war between top two economic giants, in November 2019, the US and China agreed to finalize a trade deal which includes rolling back of a portion of the tariffs, which they have been placing on each other’s products. Such a deal would bring an end to the trade war between two global powers, providing opportunities for other states to benefit from the tension-free global economic environment. In the East Asian region, China and Japan are rapidly coming out of the past strategic rivalry through a renewed economic cooperation. After 2012 military build-up both sides have realized that regional rivalry and antagonism is not in favor of any state. Indeed, such an approach has benefited external power centers while damaging the regional integration.

According to Chinese officials, trade between China and Japan has risen in the last few years, entering into double digit (8.1%) in year 2018. In the same way, bilateral trade between South Korea and China raised by 11.8% in the same period. In a bid to redefining the ASEAN’s economic and security environment through BRI, China has invested over $500 billion in the region in five years from 2014 to 2018. The opportunities through BRI have drastically changed the regional economic outlook and ASEAN’s perception about China. Upon completion of BRI initiated projects, ASEAN’s diverse economies will be reoriented with a new and more vibrant outlook in the broader Asia-Pacific region; the emerging hub of international politics and global economic centers.

In South and Central Asian regions, there are major stakes with regard to BRI. Through BRI the Eurasian Heartland could come out from its global isolation to international mainstreaming. In South Asia, CPEC, the first flagship project of BRI has opened new vistas for the economic development and greater regional cooperation. Upon its completion in 2030, the impact of CPEC will be felt not only in Pakistan and China but, all regional states including those creating hurdles through undesired motives and unfounded bases.

Away from the power politics, under the changing global and regional geopolitical environment, BRI acts as a ladder to attain much needed global peace and much desired economic prosperity by building the long-awaited and essentially vital communication infrastructure. Infrastructural development, as envisaged in BRI is equally needed by developed and developing world. However, BRI is taking extra care of developing world, especially the poor countries.

In today’s world, poverty, underdevelopment and inequality are ostensibly intractable problems, eagerly awaiting sustained and durable resolutions. Indeed, economic development must proceed for addressing the concerns of all those affected. As a mega-project, BRI is aiming to enable grounds for all countries to revamp, modernize and kick start their economies and provide jobs to their unemployed masses for shrinking the angst in order to create an all-inclusive international society. This unexplored dimension of BRI would act as a potential source for reducing the growing trends of militancy and radicalization in the broader Eurasian region, ME and Africa, otherwise considered to be the militancy hit areas. In this way, BRI will be instrumental in bringing peace and cooperation among the communities from different regions of the world for achieving ‘shared growth through collaboration’, the essence of President Xi Jinping’s vision.

Although, we are looking at the brighter promising dimensions of BRI, there are substantial international challenges, confronting this gigantic global project as well. All these challenges can be tackled gradually and through a comprehensive approach of an all-encompassing model. In this socio-economic developmental model, the underdeveloped states must be taken on board while addressing their cultural, religious and nationalistic sentiments. In a nutshell, from the perspective of social constructivism, BRI offers greater prospects for global peace and economic prosperity, therefore, let’s join hands for a peaceful and stable economic order which provides the opportunities for a win-win situation for all.

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China rejects US interference in CPEC, ties with Pakistan

The Embassy of China in Pakistan on Wednesday rejected the senior US diplomat Alice Wells’ negative rhetoric against China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) terming it a pack of lies.

It said during her recent visit to Pakistan, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs of the US State Department Alice Wells once again made negative comments on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which were nothing new but a repetition of the cliches from her November 2019 speech and which had been repeatedly rejected by China and Pakistan. However, despite repeated rejection, the US still ignores the facts and is obsessed with the story it has made for the CPEC, said a press release issued by the Chinese Embassy here. “Although you can never wake up a person who is pretending to be asleep, we have to make our position clear and reject the negative propaganda by the US. We must not let the truth be distorted and the lies run wild.”

Alice Wells alleged that there was no transparency in CPEC projects, claiming Pakistan’s debt burden was growing due to Chinese financing. She also touched on the cost escalation in the railways ML-1 upgrade project and said the Chinese companies joining CPEC were in World Bank’s blacklist. “We would be more than glad to see the US develop its relationship with Pakistan, but we strongly oppose the US interference in China-Pakistan relations and the CPEC,” the press release added. It said the US held a stick of sanctions all over the world, blacklists this and that country, but it was not for the global economy, just ways to serve its own political purpose. “We also want to advise the US that when you accuse China, you should first look back what have you done to Pakistan, and think about how much contribution have you made for Pakistan. Did Ms. Wales bring any aid, investment or trade for Pakistan during her visit?” If the US truly cares about the development and prosperity of Pakistan and this region, it should bring cash and funds, promote win-win cooperation on the basis of mutual respect, fairness, and justice, rather than act as a world policeman, spreading rumours and trying to hurt China-Pakistan relations, the Chinese Embassy added.

It added China-Pakistan ties were rock-solid and unbreakable and China would continue to work with the Pakistani government and the people to steadily advance the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC to promote regional peace and development. With respect to progress on CPEC projects, the embassy said that major progress was achieved in the past five years, with 32 projects achieving early harvests. This has significantly improved local transportation infrastructure and power supply, created over 75,000 jobs directly and contributed one to two percent of the GDP growth in Pakistan, it added. It shows that CPEC is playing an important role in boosting Pakistan’s socio-economic development and improving people’s livelihood.

Whether the CPEC works, the answer should be given by the Pakistani people rather than the US. Under the CPEC, during its planning or implementation, every project is equally discussed, carefully studied and jointly implemented by both China and Pakistan. The Chinese government always requests Chinese companies to operate according to local laws and regulations. All Chinese companies joining the CPEC enjoy an international reputation. All projects strictly follow the market-oriented and internationally accepted business model, adopt state of the art technology and strict environmental protection standards. “The entire process is open and transparent and is in line with international norms. We keep in touch with the accountability agencies of Pakistan and it is agreed that the CPEC is clean.” Regarding the so-called debt issue, according to statistics from the State Bank of Pakistan, the total foreign debt of Pakistan is 110 billion US dollars. In fact, international financial institutions including the Paris Club and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are the largest creditors of Pakistan.

Loan for the CPEC is about $5.8 billion, accounting for 5.3% of Pakistan’s total foreign debt, with a repayment period of 20-25 years and an interest rate of approximately 2%. Its repayments will start in 2021, with annual repayments of about 300 million US dollars. It will never be a burden to Pakistan. Moreover, China has never forced other countries to pay debts, and will not make unreasonable demands on Pakistan. The US keeps fabricating the so-called debt story, their mathematics is bad, and their intention is worse.

As to the cost of the ML-1 project, we have said many times. The initial design of the project was jointly accomplished by the China Railway No 2 Bureau, National Engineering Services Pakistan Limited (NESPAK), and Pakistan Railway Advisory & Consultancy Services Ltd (PRACS). The project was launched in 2016, and the initial design was submitted in May 2017. In April, 2019, it has successfully passed the initial design review, organised by Pakistan Railways (PR), of the complex including Mott McDonald Pakistan (MMP), Canarail and the Crimson. “As the project has not yet been approved, the amounts of the project will be adjusted according to the actual condition and the needs of Pakistan. After finalising the design of the project, we would initiate bidding in accordance with international practice. This is a completely normal business practice,” the embassy added.

Source: The News

Date:23/01/2020

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Sindh to kick-start projects under CPEC

The Sindh government is keen to kick-start a number of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its top priorities include Karachi Circular Railway, Dhabeji Special Economic Zone and Keti Bunder Seaport development, said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

Talking to a 22-member federal parliamentary delegation, led by MNA Sher Ali Arbab, the chief minister voiced hope that the federal government would support the provincial government in launching these projects.

The meeting was aimed at reaching consensus on CPEC-related projects to be launched in Sindh.

It was pointed out that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and China Development and Cooperation Agency in 2018. According to the agreement, all provinces will share their projects with the Centre in six identified areas.

Shah said his government shared 29 projects in the areas of education, technical and vocational education and training, health, poverty alleviation, clean drinking water, agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

“In relation to agriculture, Chinese experts visited Sindh on December 15 last year to discuss different schemes and conduct field visits,” he said. “The Sindh government was asked to give its consent to the agricultural projects, which was given on January 10, 2020. Remaining five fast-track projects are awaiting visits by the Chinese officials.”

The chief minister told the delegation that preparations for the projects would commence after the visit of Chinese stakeholders.

The five projects include smart classrooms for education, an overseas student scholarship programme, provision of medical equipment to hospitals, upgrading vocational and technical schools, and capacity building of vocational and technical education teachers.

Talking about the Karachi Circular Railway, the chief minister said on the request of Sindh government, it was included in CPEC and the provincial government requested the provision of a sovereign guarantee for handing over Karachi Urban Transport Company to the Sindh government along with transfer of land and alignment of route.

He added the then prime minister had accepted all the requests except for the transfer of land.

Turning to the Dhabeji Economic Zone, the chief minister said his government had earmarked 1,530 acres of land for the development of the economic zone in Thatta, a priority project under CPEC. He added that Keti Bunder Seaport was located about 107 km from Thatta and 150 km from Karachi via Gharo. He called the project very promising in terms of its prospects.

Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Chairman Sher Ali Arbab said socio-economic development projects under CPEC were valued at around $1 billion.

He pointed out that from the shared projects of all provinces, 27 were identified as priority projects and out of these 17 were marked as fast-track projects.

Source: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Date: 22/01/2020

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Demystifying China-Pakistan FTA

Under the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (CPFTA-II), China has immediately eliminated tariffs for Pakistan on 313 high-priority tariff lines. The government is celebrating its success, whereas the critics are questioning the relevance of these concessions for Pakistan. It is therefore important to take an objective look at these concessions and answer some pertinent questions.

 

What was the applicable duty on these 313 tariff lines before signing the CPFTA-II? Does China import these products and does Pakistan have any capability to export them? What are the most promising export opportunities for Pakistan and how can we capitalise on them?

The applicable duty on these 313 products ranged from 3.5 to 35 per cent, which has now been brought down to zero, and these products do form an essential part of China’s import bucket. In fact, China imported 311 out of these 313 tariff lines, within the last three years. In 2018 alone, China imported about $67 billion worth of goods across 301 tariff lines from within this group.

Pakistan, on the other hand, exported 167 of these tariff lines to the world in 2018, accounting for more than a quarter of its exports, and 86 tariff lines to China, claiming 47 per cent of its China-export bucket. Our exports to the world signify that we do have manufacturing capacity for these products, and we are competitive enough to export, whereas our exports to China further imply that we already have an established Chinese market in these categories.

There are two types of trajectories that can be taken from here: expand the volume of exports in the existing product lines or expand and diversify our product offering to China to include products not previously exported.

It is interesting to note that 95 per cent of our exports within these 86 lines concentrated only on 10 products, belonging to four categories: cotton yarn; apparel and clothing accessories; sheep and goat leather; and frozen flat fish. Therefore, while all these 86 lines would immediately benefit from zero duty, the most benefit will be enjoyed by these ten products. However, without reversing the declining cotton crop or reviving the struggling textile industry, even cotton yarn or apparel exports are not going to be a win.

The real opportunity therefore would be to use the concessions to expand and diversify our export offering. Looking within these 313 tariff lines, the top Chinese imports with about $35 billion import market do include promising opportunities such as the $5.5 billion gear shifts of motor vehicles with previously 10 per cent duty; $4.2 billion frozen meat with 6 per cent duty; $2.6 billion food preparations with 18.4 per cent duty; billion dollar-markets for cherries and footwear with previously 5 per cent duty, etc. It is now for the private sector to explore these areas and focus on new product markets that have opened up.

The government also needs to put its act together. It needs to spread awareness and provide diagnostics especially around these massive new promising segments. Pakistan, for instance, does export frozen meat, food preparations and milk and cream (in solid forms) to the world, but not to China. There is a need to explore why not. If there are any non-tariff barriers, those need to be addressed. Similarly, for products like gear shifts and auto parts, where we have the manufacturing footprint but not exports, there is a need to use the newly-developed special economic zones (SEZs) to bring in investment and technology to plug into global value chains in the automotive industry.

If we do it right, there is no reason why Pakistan cannot break into the big Chinese market and become an important trading partner with China.

Source: The Express Tribune

Date:22/01/2020

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Sindh to kick-start projects under CPEC

The Sindh government is keen to kick-start a number of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its top priorities include Karachi Circular Railway, Dhabeji Special Economic Zone and Keti Bunder Seaport development, said Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah.

Talking to a 22-member federal parliamentary delegation, led by MNA Sher Ali Arbab, the chief minister voiced hope that the federal government would support the provincial government in launching these projects.

The meeting was aimed at reaching consensus on CPEC-related projects to be launched in Sindh.

It was pointed out that a memorandum of understanding (MoU) had been signed between the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and China Development and Cooperation Agency in 2018. According to the agreement, all provinces will share their projects with the Centre in six identified areas.

Shah said his government shared 29 projects in the areas of education, technical and vocational education and training, health, poverty alleviation, clean drinking water, agriculture, livestock and fisheries.

“In relation to agriculture, Chinese experts visited Sindh on December 15 last year to discuss different schemes and conduct field visits,” he said. “The Sindh government was asked to give its consent to the agricultural projects, which was given on January 10, 2020. Remaining five fast-track projects are awaiting visits by the Chinese officials.”

The chief minister told the delegation that preparations for the projects would commence after the visit of Chinese stakeholders.

The five projects include smart classrooms for education, an overseas student scholarship programme, provision of medical equipment to hospitals, upgrading vocational and technical schools, and capacity building of vocational and technical education teachers.

Talking about the Karachi Circular Railway, the chief minister said on the request of Sindh government, it was included in CPEC and the provincial government requested the provision of a sovereign guarantee for handing over Karachi Urban Transport Company to the Sindh government along with transfer of land and alignment of route.

He added the then prime minister had accepted all the requests except for the transfer of land.

Turning to the Dhabeji Economic Zone, the chief minister said his government had earmarked 1,530 acres of land for the development of the economic zone in Thatta, a priority project under CPEC. He added that Keti Bunder Seaport was located about 107 km from Thatta and 150 km from Karachi via Gharo. He called the project very promising in terms of its prospects.

Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Chairman Sher Ali Arbab said socio-economic development projects under CPEC were valued at around $1 billion.

He pointed out that from the shared projects of all provinces, 27 were identified as priority projects and out of these 17 were marked as fast-track projects.

Source: THE EXPRESS TRIBUNE

Date: 22/01/2020

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Chairman CPEC Authority Discusses KCR Project With Provincial Authorities

Chairman, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority, Lt. Gen. (Retd) Asim Bajwa had a detailed meeting with the Sindh Department of Planning and Development officials to discuss the Revival of Karachi Circular Railway (KCR).

Chairman, Sindh Planning & Development board (P&DB),Muhammad Waseem, Commissioner of Karachi, Iftikhar A Shalwani and all deputy commissioners of the metropolis besides senior officials of Pakistan Railway and concerned authorities of the provincial government were also present on the occasion.

Improved coordination between Federal and provincial governments for addressing KCR related issues at federal and provincial levels were extensively discussed during the detailed meeting.

Chairman, Sindh P&DB, M Waseem gave a comprehensive background of KCR and major steps required to expedite the progress on KCR.

He emphasized that the issues of sharing framework agreement, extending sovereign guarantee and request for concessional financing need to expedited at federal level.

“This will be very helpful in boosting confidence of all stakeholders and giving thrust at ground level for joint efforts of federal and provincial entities,” he said.

Muhammad Waseem further said that encroachments from KCR track have been removed significantly and there was need to fence the track for which Government of Sindh have earmarked sufficient resources and was eager to complete the task with the help of city administration.

“Rs 249.564 billion or US Dollars 1.97bn have been approved by ECNEC for the purpose,” he said.

Sindh P&DB Chairman highlighting the strategic importance of KCR said KCR, complemented with Bus Rapid Transit Projects (BRTs) of Karachi, is the linchpin for providing seamless connectivity between Port Qasim, National Highways, Special Economic Zones of Dhabeji, Industrial Hubs, Residential Districts, and Downtown.

Chairman, CPEC Authority, Lt. Gen (retd) Asim Bajwa assured his full cooperation to help Government of Sindh in resolving issues at federal level and those at provincial level between federal and provincial governments.

He stressed the need to continue with the momentum and work hard to realize this project of national importance.

The meeting concluded with a very positive note that all stakeholders would work closely to expedite progress on KCR.

Source: Urdu Point

Date: 21/01/2020

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CPEC to benefit technology business: Minister

Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry said on Monday that technology business will be benefited through China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Federal Minister in a tweet said he met Chairman CPEC Authority Lt.General (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa and discussed Pak-China collaboration in the field of Science and Technology. He said Science and Technology is going to be part of CPEC in April 2020.

According to details, a high level delegation of Chinese National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) is likely to visit Pakistan in April to review progress on various CPEC projects.The Chinese government had agreed to provide up to $1 billion grant for socioeconomic development and poverty reduction projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). China has completed several energy and infrastructure projects during last five years under CPEC umbrella and now both countries are about to enter a new phase of cooperation with focus on the execution of social sector infrastructure projects, SEZ and ML-I. According to a senior government official said, collaboration in the field of Science and Technology between China and Pakistan will also be part of discussion during the visit of delegation. He said Pakistan has taken several new new initiatives in Science and Technology field under the leadership of Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhary. He Said Prime Minsiter Imran Khan had also appreciated the Fawad performance as minister Science and Technology.

Source: The Nation

Date: 21/01/2020