Pakistan to use Chinese currency in phases

The Long-Term Plan (LTP) of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) envisages Pakistan giving Chinese currency a status at par with the US dollar.

Pakistan’s Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing on Monday launched the plan for 2017-30 that set out the building conditions of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The document says that governance deficiencies and uneven regional development in Pakistan are challenges to CPEC’s implementation. It also highlights risks from the policies of the ‘world powers’ towards this region.

Among the most salient features of the plan are treating Renminbi (RMB) equal to the US dollar and allowing Chinese investment in agricultural production.

The decision to use Chinese currency as the second international currency will lessen Pakistan’s reliance on the US dollar.

‘Pakistan shall promote the construction of Gwadar Port Free Zone and explore RMB offshore financial business in Gwadar Free Zone,’ the plan says. Both countries shall strengthen financial cooperation between their Free Trade Zones and explore the formation of an RMB backflow mechanism, it adds.

‘The use of Chinese currency in place of US dollar will benefit Pakistan,’ the Planning Minister told The Express Tribune. He said the RMB could be used in bilateral trade but not inside Pakistan.

‘The use of Chinese currency will reduce our reliance on the US dollar,’ Iqbal said. He said China desired that RMB be used for all financial and commercial transactions between the two countries.

Pakistan has taken a bold step by accepting the Chinese demand, as the country’s foreign exchange regime currently allows the use of the US dollar only for international trade.

The decision, which may take up to three years to implement, will extend to the RMB all the incentives currently available to the greenback, according to government officials.

The long-term plan states that the two countries should promote monetary cooperation between their Central Banks and explore enhancing the scope of bilateral currency swaps. They will also assign foreign currency to domestic banks through credit-based bids to support financing for projects along CPEC and promote settlements in RMB and Rupees to reduce the demand for third-party currency.

‘The two sides will also actively explore use of bilateral currencies for the settlement of bilateral trade and investment under the relevant arrangements,’ it says.

They will encourage clearing and settlement for the financial institutions from both sides through a Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payment System, promote free flow of capital in an orderly manner and enhance facilitation of cross-border transfer of legitimate funds.

Not only that, ‘both countries shall …establish and improve a cross-border credit system and promote financial services such as export credit, project financing, syndicated loan, trade finance, investment bank, cross-border RMB business, financial market, assets management, e-bank and financial lease; support the project financing by RMB loans and establish the evaluation model of power bill in RMB.’

Pakistan’s federal and provincial governments, enterprises and financial institutions will explore effective ways to conduct RMB financing in Mainland China, Hong Kong and other offshore RMB centres. Chinese and Pakistani market players will be supported and encouraged to finance projects related to CPEC in the international market and Pakistan.

‘By no means is the LTP final and perfect, as it can be adjusted according to the ground realities,’ said Yao, the new Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad. He said that the plan demonstrated China’s long-term commitment to Pakistan’s development.

The document says that the CPEC will ‘greatly speed up the industrialization and urbanization process in Pakistan and help it grow into a highly inclusive, globally competitive and prosperous country capable of providing high-quality life to its citizens.’

However, it has been cautioned that Pakistan needs to address major bottlenecks to economic and social development to sustain the economic growth momentum.

‘The energy, infrastructure, administration and governance deficiencies, besides unbalanced regional economic and social development, and external sector vulnerabilities need to be monitored to avoid any possible challenge to CPEC.’

Timeline of goals

According to the plan, CPEC should take the initial shape by 2020 and have its basic construction done by 2025 with the industrial system approximately complete and major economic functions brought into play in a holistic way.

By 2030, the building phase should be accomplished, the endogenous mechanism for sustainable economic growth in place and CPEC’s role in stimulating economic growth in Central and South Asia brought into holistic play. South Asia shall grow into an international economic zone with global influence.

It says the commercial projects should be operated in a market-oriented way; quasi-commercial major infrastructure projects may adopt the public-private partnership mode and non-commercial projects concerning people’s livelihood should involve multiple participants and be implemented through fair competition.

The plan lays emphasis on capacity expansion of railway lines and new projects. In the energy sector, the cooperation will be for the development of oil and gas resources and establishing refineries and storages along the route will be considered. Both countries will actively promote river planning and preparatory work of major projects to accelerate hydro-electric power development.

Pakistan’s industries will be encouraged to move away from assembling imported parts and components to localized production and Chinese enterprises to enter the Pakistan market for developing energy-efficient industry.

Both countries will promote industrial capacity cooperation in sectors such as chemical and pharmaceutical, engineering goods, agro, iron and steel, light manufacturing and home appliances and construction material.

Agriculture sector

China and Pakistan should give full play to their own comparative advantages to strengthen agricultural infrastructure construction within the CPEC coverage, the plan says.

It calls for cooperation in biological breeding, production, processing, storage and transportation; infrastructure construction; disease prevention and control; water resources utilization, conservation and protection; land development and remediation; ICT-enabled agriculture and marketing of agricultural products. The aim is to promote systematic, large-scale, standardized and intensified construction of agricultural industry.

China will cooperate for strengthening drip irrigation technology and improving post-harvest handling, storage and transportation of products.

The plan also says the countries should exploit the tourism resources in regions along CPEC, especially the border areas.

Source: MENAFN, 18th Dec 2017.

Pakistan, China say economic partners till 2030

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan and China on Monday unveiled a long-term cooperation plan in economic development envisioning cooperation until at least 2030 in areas ranging from infrastructure to information technology.

Ahsan Iqbal (L), Pakistan’s Minister of Planning and Development and Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan attend the launching ceremoney of CPEC long-term cooperation plan in Islamabad, Pakistan December 18, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood

It is the first time the two countries have announced how long they plan to work together on the project, known as the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The long-term CPEC plan was made public in a ceremony in Islamabad attended by Pakistani Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal and Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing.

The document did not, however, give specific details on the projects, such as terms and conditions of investments and loans, nor did it provide details for Special Economic Zones, some of which are already underway in Pakistan.

The (CPEC), a flagship of Beijing’s Belt and Road initiative to build a new “Silk Road” of land and maritime trade routes across more than 60 countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, has committed a $57 billion investment in Pakistan.

The long term plan highlighted key cooperation areas between the two neighbors, which included connectivity with a road and rail infrastructure, information network infrastructure, energy, trade and industrial parks, agriculture, poverty alleviation and tourism. The two countries will become good economic partners till 2030.

Source: Reuters News, 18th Dec 2017.

China came to Pakistan’s rescue when others were walking away: minister

Interior Minister of Pakistan Ahsan Iqbal said that China came to Pakistan’s rescue when it was going through the most critical time of its history by launching the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) under the Belt and Road Initiative.

Speaking at the launching ceremony of CPEC Long Term Plan, the minister said in 2013 Pakistan was facing many challenges including power crisis, crash of stock exchange, economic challenges and poor law and order situation. It was China that showed a positive gesture and supported the falling economy by bringing in about 46 billion U.S. dollars investment in the form of CPEC, he said.

“That gesture Pakistani nation will never forget that, while others were walking away, the government and people of China came to Pakistan’s rescue and announced to the world that we (China) are investing billions of dollars in Pakistan because it is not a risky country, but a safe country,” Iqbal said.

Iqbal said that different road networks are being constructed to connect underprivileged areas across the country with the main route of CPEC to boost and generate economic activities.

About the Long Term Plan of CPEC, the minister said that the plan would expand the scope of cooperation between the countries in various new areas, including cooperation in social sectors along with economic fields.

“This plan is effective until 2030. The short-term projects in it will be completed by up to 2020, medium term project up to 2025 and long term projects up to 2030,” he added.

Source: Xinhua News, 18th Dec 2017.

CPEC to turn Pak-China ties into strategic economic partnership: Ahsan

The Long Term Plan (LTP) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor Project (LTP) was launched here on Monday which is a being seen as a big leap forward for turning bilateral relations between the two countries into the one based on long term strategic economic partnership.
Under the LTP, the key areas of cooperation, till 2030, include Financial Regulations, Connectivity, Energy, Trade and Industrial Parks, Agricultural Development and Poverty Alleviation and Tourism.
The CPEC projects are broadly divided into three phass, starting from the short term plan which is effective till 2020; medium term plan will cover the projects till 2025 and long term plan which is valid until 2030.
LTP was signed last month at the meeting of 7th JCC and it was agreed to be reviewed after every two years by both sides.
Addressing the launching ceremony Chinese Ambassdor to Pakistan Yao Jing said the long term plan would expand the scope of cooperation in various new areas, including cooperation in social sectors along with economic fields. “CPEC was a national plan approved by the both the Chinese and Pakistan government.” It will effectively match relevant national plans of China as well as Pakistan Vision 2025,” he added.
“This plan is effective until 2030, the short-term projects included will be completed by 2020; medium term project by 2025 and long term projects up to 2030” he added.
The minister said that during President of China Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, the all weather strategic cooperation partnership between the two countries was enriched with new connotations.
He said, “the two sides take CPEC as the core while prioritizing Gwadar, energy, transport, infrastructure and industrial cooperation which has opened a new chapter of development in the area.”
He said Chinese were doing what the Americans and the Europeans should have done after the end of the Afghan war” that evicted the Soviets from Afghanistan. “That war helped bring down the Berlin Wall, and made Europe safe. But we here in Pakistan are still paying the price for it.”
The minister said that China had invested 46 billion dollars when other countries were not interested to make any investment. “ Investment in difficult time by China had proven that China is time tested and true friend of Pakistan” he added.
He said through CPEC the dream of producing cheap energy from Thar coal deposits in Sindh was being materialized. Ahsan Iqbal said rail and road network was being laid across the country to connect Gwadar with China and other parts of the country which would boost regional connectivity and generate economic activities.
The Planning Minister remarked that it has become necessary for Pakistan to follow China’s economic vision. “We have to learn from China, how China with its political stability, how China with its social solidarity and harmony, and how China with the pursuit of its economic policies and vision has become a success story in the world.”

Source: Pakistan Observer, 18th Dec 2017.

CPEC long-term plan launched

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal here on Monday said that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project would turn ties between Pakistan and China into long-term strategic economic partnership.

Addressing an event for launching of Long-Term Plan (LTP) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor 2017-230 along with Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing, he said, “launching of Long-Term Plan of CPEC will turn the China-Pakistan bilateral relations into long term strategic economic partnership.”

Iqbal said that the long term plan would expand the scope of cooperation in various new areas, including cooperation in social sectors along with economic fields.

He said that CPEC was a national plan approved by both the Chinese and Pakistan government. “It will effectively match relevant national plans of China as well as Pakistan Vision 2025,” he added.

“This plan is effective until 2030, the short-term projects included will be considered by up to 2020; medium term project up to 2025 and long term projects up to 2030” he added.

The minister said that during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015, the all weather strategic cooperation partnership between the two countries was enriched with new connotations.

He said, “the two sides take CPEC as the core while prioritizing Gwadar, energy, transport, infrastructure and industrial cooperation which has opened a new chapter of development in the area.”

He said Chinese were doing what the Americans and the Europeans should have done after the end of the Afghan war that evicted the Soviets from Afghanistan. That war helped bring down the Berlin Wall, and made Europe safe. But we here in Pakistan are still paying the price for it.

The minister said that China had invested $46 billion when other countries were not interested to make any investment. “ Investment in difficult time by China had proven that China is time tested and true friend of Pakistan” he added.

He said through CPEC the dream of producing cheap energy from Thar coal deposits in Sindh was being materialized.

Iqbal said rail and road network was being laid across the country to connect Gwadar with China and other parts of the country which would boost regional connectivity and generate economic activities.

The minister said Pakistan and China are enjoying best exemplary relations. He said the two countries had relations for the last 66 years but these ties unluckily had not been transformed in robust economic ties.

He said everyone in Pakistan are admired of the development achieved by China but unfortunately Pakistan did not learnt from its experience. We have to learn from China that how to move to road to development, progress and prosperity for poverty alleviation.

The minister said the CPEC had transformed Pakistan completely, making it an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. The country portrayed as terrorist hub, has now turned into a safe haven for billions of dollars investment, he said.

Iqbal said international media had been declaring Pakistan a security risk but now “Pakistan is a safe place for foreign investment”.

He said China’s Foreign Director Investment was 13 percent of the total foreign investment in 2013, far behind other countries. But now after the CPEC, China has emerged as the top country in respect of FDI in Pakistan, he said.

“The size of a country’s economy now matters in world politics. Economic strength of a country defines security and future prospects. The CPEC has created conducive environment in Pakistan, guaranteeing its security and bright future, he said.

The minister further said that support and unity from the provinces on the CPEC had contributed to speedy implementation and completion of projects.

“Provinces’ role is important to provide adequate security to workers engaged in construction of CPEC projects,” he said.

He pointed out that 85 million jobs were going to be relocated out of China to developing countries due to increasing labour costs there, and Pakistan must make every effort to capture a large a share of the jobs.

He said so far China had materialised investment of 27 billion dollar in different CPEC projects in Pakistan.

The minister said in agriculture sector, trip irrigation system and technology would improve seed quality would be imported from China. He also dismissed the impression that China had stopped investment in the CPEC related projects.

“We have to make a pledge to work harder, best and smarter to make the Pakistan Asian tiger” he added.

Iqbal said a delegation of Pakistani investors was likely to visit China to explore further ways and means for export goods.

On the occasion, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said China and  Pakistan were enjoying cordial ties from the last many years and the CPEC would further strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries. He said people of China and Pakistan people very close to each other.

He said the CPEC would not only bring development in Pakistan and China but the whole region.

Chief Economist Dr Nadeem Javid shared the salient features of the CPEC’ Long Term Plan (LTP).

Following are the details of the Long Term Plan report launched:-

Construction of an integrated transport system

Transport infrastructure is the basic and prerequisite condition for the construction of the CPEC. It is an important field that can be relied on to guide and drive the economic and social development of regions along the CPEC, besides promoting the inter-connectivity and all-round cooperation between China and Pakistan for shared prosperity.

Through the joint planning and development of highways, railways, ports, aviation and other infrastructure, a convenient, efficient and integrated transport corridor that includes a variety of modes of transport can be formed, mainly drawing from Monographic Study on Transport Planning, to achieve the transition from lagging behind to adaptation and then to moderate advancement in the transport infrastructure of the main nodes along the CPEC. In order to meet the needs of trade and personnel exchanges between China and Pakistan for the socio-economic development of regions along the CPEC, following initiatives have been planned to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

Construction and development of Kashgar-lslamabad, Peshawar-Islamabad-Karachi, Sukkur-Gwadar Port and Dera Ismail Khan-Quetta-Sohrab-Gwadar road infrastructure, to enhance road safety and service levels and expand traffic capacity.

Capacity expansion of existing railway Lines (specifically ML-1 that is of strategic nature under CPEC), and construction of new projects, and promoting the modernization of the railway and build an integrated transport corridor.

Construction and development of Gwadar city and port; build a consolidation and distribution transport system, continuously improve the infrastructure of the port, accelerate the construction of East Bay Expressway and the new international airport and enhance the competitiveness of the Free Zone to promote the social progress and economic development of the region.

Cooperation for implementing Gwadar city Master Plan

Strengthen China-Pakistan cooperation in technical training and cooperation in the construction and management of transport infrastructure, to continuously provide talents for the development of the CPEC and promote the sustainable development of transportation industry.

Information network infrastructure

China and Pakistan should boost information connectivity and promote pragmatic cooperation through construction and operation of local communication networks and broadcast Et TV networks; besides strengthening information and communication industries in both countries and synchronous construction of information, road and railway infrastructure.

Promote the construction of cross-border optical fiber cables between China and Pakistan and the construction of the backbone optical fiber networks in Pakistan.

Upgrading of Pakistan’s network facilities, including the national data center and the second submarine cable Landing station.

Expedite Pakistan to adopt China’s Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB) standard.

Promote the ICT-enabled development of Pakistan, including e-government, border electronic monitoring and safe city construction; promote the development of e-commerce in Pakistan.

Enhance the development of the information industry in Pakistan; build IT

industrial parks and IT industry clusters in Pakistan to improve Pakistan’s information technology and service outsourcing.

Increase Pakistani personnel in exchange programs in China, establish technical training centers in Pakistan, and strengthen the construction of ICT human resources in Pakistan.

Energy Related Fields

China and Pakistan should strengthen cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, electricity and power grids, and focus on promoting the construction of major projects of thermal power, hydropower, coal gasification and renewable power generation, and supporting power transmission networks, in order to enhance its power transmission and supply reliability.

Promote the cooperation in the development of oil and gas resources, research on the integrated vision and demand of China and Pakistan oil and gas cooperation so as to improve the cooperation between the two countries and diversify oil supplies.

The opinions of establishing oil refineries and storages along the CPEC route will also be considered.

Optimize the sourcing and use of coal, and research on development and utilization of Pakistan”s own coal for power plant and developing technologies for surface coal gasification, expansion and augmentation of coal mining sector.

Actively promote river planning and preparatory work of major projects to accelerate the hydropower development process.

Develop wind and solar energy based on local conditions, and establish diversified energy supply channels.

Strengthen the construction of high voltage-class power grids and power transmission and distribution networks to fulfill the electricity demand and ensure the reliability of electricity supply in Pakistan.

To develop the industry for manufacturing of energy sector equipments required for generation, transmission and distribution including renewable energy technologies.

Trade and Industrial Parks China and Pakistan should strengthen cooperation in trade and industrial areas, expand bilateral economic and trade relations, and enhance the level of bilateral trade liberalization.

They should cooperate in key areas, enhance the effectiveness of cooperation and strive to achieve the synchronization, coordination and reciprocity of economic development.

Promote the quality, value addition, competitiveness and efficiency improvement of the textile and garment industry, expand the size of the textile industry, and increase the supply of high value-added products; to adopt the means like export processing to establish a regional cooperation and development model based on complementary advantages, and mutual benefits.

Promote Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in all provinces and regions in Pakistanalong with Kashgar Economic and Technological Development Zone and Caohu IndustrialPark from Chinese side.

Expand the cooperation in industry, promote Pakistan”s industries from assemblingimported parts and components to localized production of parts, and encourage variousforms of Chinese enterprises to enter the Pakistan market to improve the development ofenergy efficient industry in Pakistan.

Promote the industrial capacity cooperation in sectors such as: chemical &pharmaceutical, engineering goods, agro, iron & steel, light manufacturing & homeappliances and construction materials, and use efficient, energy-saving andenvironmental friendly processes and equipment to meet the demands of Pakistan”s localmarkets and at the same time to further expand it to the international market.

Increase the exploration and development of resources, and introduce bilateralenterprises to participate in the exploration and development of mineral resources andsetting up of mineral processing zones and industries.

Rely on industrial parks and the characteristics of bilateral economic and tradecooperation to expand cooperation in related industries and promote the development ofindustrial concentration.

Expand trade logistics and areas of business cooperation, improve business-to-business (B2B) links and the investment environment, optimize the bilateral trade structure, and promote balanced trade development.

Rely on the advantages of the ports to expand logistics transportation.

Support the establishment of customs special supervision areas along the CPEC onthe basis of China- Pakistan economic cooperation zones and industrial parks in order toprovide investment platforms for companies and continue to extend transnationalindustrial chains.

Promote the development of Gwadar Free Zone, achieve informationdocking of those free zones in Pakistan and the customs special supervision areas in China, conduct standardized data exchange on pilot basis so as to realize free flow of goods among customs special supervision areas along the CPEC route and enhance trade facilitation.

Agricultural Development and Poverty Alleviation:-China and Pakistan should give full play to their own comparative advantages to strengthen agricultural infrastructure construction within the CPEC coverage and play their own roles in agricultural personnel training, technical exchanges and cooperation.

They should cooperate in key construction areas such as biological breeding, production, processing, storage and transportation, infrastructure construction, disease prevention and control, water resources utilization, conservation and production, land development and remediation, ICT-enabled agriculture and marketing of agricultural products to promote the systematic, large-scale, standardized and intensified construction of the agricultural industry.

They should promote the transition from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture in the regions along the CPEC to effectively boost the development of local agricultural economy and help local people get rid of poverty and, become better off.

Strengthen the upgrading of agricultural infrastructure in the regions along the CPEC.

Promote the construction of water-saving modern agricultural zones, and increasethe development and remediation of medium- and low-yielding land to achieve efficientuse of resources.

Strengthen drip irrigation technology for water efficiency

Strengthen cooperation in the fields such as crop farming, live stock breeding,forestry and food growing, and aquatic and fishery in the regions along the CPEC, with thehighlight on technical exchange and cooperation in the fields of development ofcomprehensive agricultural production capacity, construction of farmland waterconservancy facility and agricultural products circulation facility.

 Improve post-harvest handling, storage and transportation of agriculturalproducts, and innovate in marketing and sales models.

Improve water resources operation and management, strengthen development ofpastoral areas and desert, and promote application of remote sensing technology.

Strengthen production of agriculture inputs particularly pesticides, fertilizer,machinery and support services including agriculture education and research.

Collaborate in forestry, horticulture, fisheries and Livestock medicines and vaccines.

Strengthen production of horticulture products

Tourism:-China and Pakistan should further exploit the potential advantages of the tourism resources in the regions along the CPEC, especially the China-Pakistan border areas.

They should actively research comprehensive development of coastal tourism within the CPEC coverage, with Gwadar and Karachi as the hubs, expand cross-border tourism and improve the quality of tourism services to effectively promote the socio-economic development of the two countries.

Actively consider the potential advantages of the tourism resources in the regionsalong the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, especially the China-Pakistan border areasalong the railways and highways; jointly research the development and construction ofcross-border tourist routes.

Actively discuss the feasibility of constructing the “2+1+5″ tourism spatial structurein Pakistan, which includes two centers, one axis and five zones: Karachi Port and GwadarPort as the two centers, and the coastal tourism belt as the development axis, and fivetourist zones of Jiwani & Gwadar tourism zone, Jhal Jhao, Ormara, Sonmini and KetiBander.

Improve the tourism public service system in cross border areas, with particularattention to the services of public information, convenient transportation, securityprotection and other services benefiting the public.

Actively consider to building a tour route connecting coastal cities of Pakistan andthemed on coastal leisure & vacationing, and the initial suggested route is: Keti Bander -Karachi – Sonmiani – Ormara – Jhal Jhao – Gwadar – Jiwani.

Cooperation in Areas connecting People’s Livelihood and Non-government Exchange:-China and Pakistan should further strengthen cooperation between local governments, strengthen the communications among non-governmental organizations, develop extensive project cooperation centered on public opinions communication, people-to-people friendship and people”s livelihood improvement, and enhance the comprehensive service capability of the cities along the CPEC.

They should significantly improve people”s livelihood to provide a good social environment for the CPEC building.

Apply international and China”s new urbanization concepts to the municipalconstruction of the node cities along the CPEC, such as the construction of the publictransport system and water supply and drainage systems; utilize China”s strength intechnology, equipment, and capital, and solve some prominent livelihood issues via pilotprojects.

Expand the scale of training programs in China for Pakistani central government officials, parties and local government officials from regions along the CPEC; select outstanding Pakistani students from regions along the CPEC and send them to Chinese universities such as university in Xinjiang to receive higher education and make cultural exchanges;Strengthen social and economic development cooperation within the CPEC coverage; make efforts to carry out vocational training in Pakistan; – rely on higher education resources in Pakistan to carry out design and R&D activities, strengthen exchanges and cooperation among educational and research institutions in technology transfer, strengthen the construction, operation and management of the transportation and power infrastructure, and the technical training for Pakistani personnel by reference to Xinjiang”s “Academy of Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation”.

Provide medical assistance services in more places within the CPEC coverage andupgrade existing medical facilities based on actual needs.

Summarize experience and innovate models of public social welfare cooperationmechanism in Gwadar areas between China and Pakistan, improve social welfarecooperation in the CPEC coverage and enhance public support for CPEC.

Cooperate to make top planning of water resources such as comprehensive planningof water resources and river basin, improve the capability of Pakistan to coordinate theplanning of water resources development and utilization, conservation and protection, flood and drought prevention and disaster relief.

Financial Cooperation:-The two countries should explore the establishment of multi-level cooperation mechanisms and strengthen policy coordination.

They should also strengthen their own financial reform and opening up, innovate in their own financial products and financial services, and control financial risks to create a good financial environment for the CPEC building.

Following are the areas of focus:Strengthen cooperation in financial regulation.

The two countries should promotemonetary cooperation between the central banks, implement existing bilateral currencyswap arrangements, research to expand the amount of currency swap and explore toenrich the use scope of bilateral currency swap; assign the foreign currency to domesticbanks through credit-based bids to support the financing for projects along the CPEC;promote the settlement in domestic currencies (RMB and Rupees) to reduce the demandfor third-party currency; strengthen the cooperation between the central banks andfinancial regulatory agencies of the two countries.

The two sides will actively to usebilateral currencies for the settlement of bilateral trade and investment under therelevant arrangements.

The two countries encourage clearing and settlement of thefinancial institutions from both sides through Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payment System(CIPS), promote the free flow of capital in an orderly manner, and enhance the facilitation in cross-border transfer of legitimate funds.

Cooperation between financial institutions

China supports Pakistan to cooperate with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).

Both countries shall promote the mutual opening of their financial sector and the establishment of financial institutions in each other; encourage financial institutions of the two countries to support the financing,including the loans from international consortium of banks, for the projects along the CPEC; establish and improve a cross-border credit system, and promote financial services such as export credit, project financing, syndicated loan, trade finance, investment bank,cross-border RMB business, financial market, assets management, e-bank, and financial lease; support the project financing by RMB loans, and establish the evaluation model of power bill in RMB.

Cooperation between financial markets

The two countries shall promote the opening and development of the securities markets, support the multi-currency direct financing of Pakistan”s central and local governments, enterprises and financial institutions in China, strengthen the cooperation between stock exchanges of the two countries, and support the two countries” enterprises and financial institutions in carrying out direct financing for projects along the CPEC in each other”s capital markets.

Financial cooperation between Free Trade Zones (FTZs)

Pakistan shall promote theconstruction of Gwadar Port Free Zone by drawing on the experience of China (Shanghai)Pilot Free Trade Zone and other Pilot Free Trade Zones in China, and explore RMB offshorefinancial business in Gwadar Free Zone.

Both countries shall strengthen financial cooperation between cooperation between their Free Trade Zones and explore the formation of a RMB back flow mechanism.

Source: The News, 18th Dec 2017.

China believes Pakistan will continue to ensure security for CPEC

BEIJING: China on Monday stated that it believes Pakistan will continue to ensure security for CPEC construction.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a major cooperation project for the two countries. “It (CPEC) has widespread support in the two countries and it will promote prosperity and stability of China, Pakistan and the countries in the region.”

He further said: “China commends that Pakistan attaches high importance to this issue and has been taking necessary measures to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens and institutions. China believes they will continue to do so to ensure smooth running of CPEC construction”

A few days ago, the Chinese embassy in Islamabad cautioned it citizens and organizations to increase security awareness, reduce trips outside as much as possible, and avoid crowded public spaces.

Source: Geo News, 12th Dec 2017.

Pakistan calls for strengthening cooperation between regional countries

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has called for strengthening cooperation between regional countries to achieve sustainable peace.

The desire was expressed between a meeting of National Security Advisor Nasser Khan Janjua and Iranian Ambassador Mehdi Honar Dost in Islamabad on Friday.

Nasser Khan Janjua said broader understanding of each other’s stance regarding key regional developments can pave the way to enhance bilateral engagements.

Besides bilateral relation, they also discussed economic prospects of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and matters pertaining to regional and Muslim world’s security situation.

The Iranian Ambassador said Muslim world is passing through challenging times and his country believes that Pakistan can play a very constructive and balanced role in the given scenario.

He termed China Pakistan Economic Corridor as a game changing endeavour for the region and expressed his country’s desire to become its part.

Source: ARY News, 16th Dec 2017.

Projects launched under CPEC to bring economic revolution: AJK President

ISLAMABAD: President Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Sardar Masood Ahmed Khan Friday said development projects launched under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would bring economic revolution in the region.

Number of power projects were also underway in the region and were being completed on fast track, he said while talking to a news channel.

He said the projects would fulfill energy demands of the AJK as well as of the entire country. The AJK President said the AJK would be producing 6,000 to 8,000 mega watt electricity in next ten years.

He said there was huge potential for hydro power generation in AJK but unfortunately, attention was not given in the sector in the past which ultimately caused power crises in the country.

Sardar Masood said Neelum-Jhelum power project was near to completion and would start electricity generation in March 2018. He said industrial zone would also be set-up in Mirpur city which would further increase economic activities in AJK.

Source: Business Recorder, 16th Dec 2017.

Is Chinese Militarization Of Pakistan Beginning?

According to a December 12, 2017 Urdu-language news site report, during a high-level meeting presumably between Chinese and Pakistani officials held on the last day of the November Chinese Economic Summit in Hong Kong, China offered to train Pakistani security forces to protect both the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Pakistan and the Chinese nationals working on them. That follows a September 17, 2017 official CPEC announcement, whereby China would “assist” Pakistan in “capacity building” of “civil armed forces.”

At face value, the Chinese offer appears to be a predictable response to the proliferation of Islamic extremist groups, the permanent Taliban support and recruiting network, and the festering independence insurgency, all in Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan, a region whose stability is critical to the success of CPEC, a $46 billion Chinese infrastructure investment in Pakistan.

What the December 12th Urdu report states that the official September 17thcommunique doesn’t is that Chinese training will include the “Special Security Division,” which widens the scope considerably.

The Special Security Division is a 2-star Pakistani military command of up to 15,000 personnel established in September 2016 to protect CPEC from internal and external threats. It is composed of nine Pakistan Army infantry battalions, six “Civil Armed Forces” elements of Army Ranger and Frontier Corps units, and a maritime security command led by the Pakistani Navy, which includes the Maritime Security Agency and the Pakistani Marines.

The number of Chinese military and security trainers to be stationed in Pakistan is undisclosed, but based on the size of the Special Security Division alone, the total complement of Chinese needed to fulfill all the CPEC security requirements is expected to be sizable.

Also in the past week, Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), announced a joint China-Pakistan space program that will begin by sending a satellite into orbit within the next two years. In that regard, there have been on-the-ground reports in the past few months of high-level Chinese delegations visiting Sonmiani, Balochistan, the location of Pakistan’s space port. Those reports have also included rumors of Chinese purchases of large blocks of land in the Sonmiani region.

In April 2017, an agreement was signed whereby a state-run Chinese company, the China Overseas Port Holding Company will handle the operations of Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar port for a period of 40 years.

Pakistan is not shy about stating its interest in joint naval operations with China from Gwadar:

“China and Pakistan have found common ground in terms of maritime interest in the region. Gwadar port can be used for joint naval patrols in the Indian Ocean, further increasing the naval outreach of China and Pakistan in the region. Gwadar port will increase the countries’ naval movements and further expand defense cooperation, especially in the naval field.”

In addition, there has been a general shift in Chinese military personnel in favor of naval and marine corps forces at the expense of land forces. According to reports, some of those forces are destined for Djibouti and Gwadar, the strategy being:

“The Chinese have been attracted to Gwadar primarily because of its proximity to the Straits of Hormuz, through which most of their energy flows. Gwadar provides a base from where they can exercise firm control over this energy flow, both in terms of monitoring and protection when the situation demands such effort. With the establishment of a Chinese military base at Djibouti and the continuing anti-piracy effort, naval operations based out of Gwadar will provide the Chinese with a near-continuous naval presence from the Makran coast [southern Pakistan on the Arabian Sea] to the Straits of Bab-el-Mandeb [entrance to the Red Sea and gateway to the Suez Canal].”

The Chinese are also expanding the Gwadar International Airport to handle “heavies.” That will provide an airlift capability linking Gwadar at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and the Chinese base in Djibouti at the entrance of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal.

Also in the past week — similar to the Chinese “management” of Gwadar — Sri Lanka relinquished authority over its southern port of Hambantota to the Chinese, having signed a 99-year lease with the state-controlled China Merchants Port Holdings.

The Chinese presence in Hambantota outflanks both India and the U.S. naval base in Diego Garcia and provides an additional strategic choke point, a potential for regional hegemony and, in combination with the other developments, largely renders current U.S. policy in Afghanistan obsolete.

Source: The Daily Caller, 15th Dec 2017.