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‘CPEC is not a gift’: Professor Jia Yu at the CPEC 2018 Summit

Pakistan should not take CPEC for granted, writes Dr. Jia Yu. Both public and private sectors must take ownership of the opportunities.

 

The economic relations between the two countries have been phenomenal, especially since the turn of the century. Early economic cooperation was based on political and security interests, like Karakoram Highway, nuclear capability, arms trade etc. Also, it was focussed on energy and mining, but there is now a need for diversification. Pakistan has to take advantage of China’s rise on the global scene. There is a tendency towards having even better economic relations based on market forces and there is a lot of under-exploited potentials.

When it comes to win-win cooperation, of course, there is a lot at stake for both countries. Pakistan’s interests lie in promoting growth, private sector investment, employment, exports, technology and transfer of skills as well as in the relocation of Chinese firms. China’s interests lie in overseas production bases, new export markets, energy cooperation, and its need for production capacity relocation.

A successful execution of CPEC will ensure economic progress and stability for both the countries, particularly along the border region.

The two countries signed the FTA in 2006 which came into effect a year later. The FTAs play a major role in the general tendency of increasing trade. Surprisingly, the trade has been relatively low compared to the other neighbors (India, Vietnam, Philippines etc.). And there is a large and widening trade imbalance that needs to be worked on.

There has been a considerable increase in FDI since 2014 which is a positive sign for both China and Pakistan. The main FDI sectors by priority are: power, construction, financial services, and communication. There is, however, very little FDI in the light manufacturing sector.

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a $900 billion investment, with finance channels targeting green development. It connects more than 60 countries, 60pc of the global population, 30pc of global GDP, and 35pc of global trade.

CPEC, a central link of BRI, cuts 10,000 miles of shipping by sea, and connects ports from Shanghai to Africa and Europe through Gwadar.

PAKISTAN AND CPEC

If things work out smoothly, Pakistan could use the FDI in its power and transport infrastructure and then in the manufacturing sector with the experience of leveraging SEZs to unlock this trio’s potential for rapid gains in job-rich industrialization. This can be done without unrealistic pre-requirements as the work to lay the foundations for industrialization has already begun.

The potentials are outlined below along with policy options needed to convert them into actions. At a regional level, Pakistan has been growing steadily in terms of GDP per capita since 2010, according to the World Bank. Investors are very keen to a growing economy. Consistent growth of purchasing power (GDP per capita) really matters for domestic consumption; therefore the growth rate must be maintained to catch up with competitors.

Pakistan is one of the world’s largest reservoirs of human capital and has a tremendous potential consumer base. In 2016, the country was home to 193,203,476 people, being the world’s 6th most populous country. World Economic Forum estimates that it will be among the top five populous countries in the world by 2060.

However, a large population is necessary but not sufficient to attract investors. The population has to be equipped with adequate skills to meet industrialization needs. An effort is also needed to attract global buyers.

Thirdly, China and Pakistan have long hailed each other as “all-weather friends”, or “iron brothers” as close as “lips and teeth” in the words of The Economist. There is already solid trust between the two countries, but the Pakistani officials need to visit China more often to convince the private investors for investment opportunities in Pakistan.

The CPEC will improve road, air, sea, and energy infrastructure. It will ensure land, sea and air security. It will enhance trade and investment facilitation and will establish free trade areas that meet high standards, maintain closer economic ties, and deepen political trust. Also, it will enhance cultural exchanges and promote mutual understanding, peace, and friendship between the people of the two countries.

Having said that, the CPEC should not be considered just a ‘gift’ from China, but the Pakistani government should also establish an FDI Advisory Board that shall promote the new image of the country. This includes visiting China more often and ensuring that investors understand the opportunities and benefits available under the CPEC.

Besides, according to the State Bank of Pakistan in November 2017, the country received net FDI worth $207 million out of which $206 million came from China. Potential investors pay significant attention to first movers, other Chinese investors may follow and eventually stay in Pakistan if the government helps the pioneers to be successful.

In terms of binding constraints, a study case of Malaysia estimates that FDI can effectively contribute to growth if it is at least 3.14pc of GDP. Pakistan should be able to compete. This requires overcoming the binding constraints by addressing security issues and risks, hard infrastructure challenges, especially SEZ-specific constraints like energy, roads to SEZs etc. Soft infrastructure challenges include corruption, rule of the law, coordination among institutions, inadequate capacity and cultural biases. Absorption capacity can be adjusted by setting yearly realistic targets of FDI amount.

There are six steps to identify the right industries, as narrated by Prof. Justin Lin. They include identifying countries with consistent growth, with GDP per capita three times as Pakistan’s or was at the same level as Pakistan 30 years ago.

Next comes investigating the existing private investment in those target industries and encourage its development by leasing the market regulations. Attracting global investors into the target industries which lack existing domestic private investment is the third step, followed by paying attention to new enterprises and supporting innovation in the target industries.

Establishing and developing SEZs to eliminate entering barriers, attracting foreign investment, and encouraging industrial cluster. And, finally, providing policy incentives for the first movers, including tax reduction, foreign exchange access, etc.

THE WAY FORWARD

Development can start from ‘low-hanging fruit’ through SEZs. The government should attract first movers to invest and help the pioneers succeed.

CPEC should not be taken for granted. A proactive and systematic approach is needed for attracting investors, together with strong market factors.

Despite long-term and solid trust at the government level, more mutual dialogues and exchanges need to be enhanced in the private sector. Let the peoples get to understand each other.

CPEC and SEZs are open for all investors, including those from other countries beyond China.

The writer is a professor at the Institute of New Structural Economics (INSE), Peking University, China.

SOURCE: https://www.dawn.com/news/1409721

 

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Chinese Embassy awards 89 need-based scholarships

Chinese embassy has extended need-based scholarships to NUML students who are unable to meet their education expenses.

Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing distributed cheques of the Chinese Embassy Scholarships among 89 deserving students during his visit to National University of Modern Languages (NUML).

China is keen on promoting education in Pakistan, Ambassador Jing said. “These scholarships are just a token and humble contribution to educate the deserving Pakistani youth, he said adding the embassy will continue awarding the scholarships to the needy students annually.

Ambassador said that learning languages of each other is essential for enhancement of bilateral relations and future of both the countries lies on the young and energetic youth of both sides. He said that NUML has become a brand in China for learning languages and education. He vowed that amount of the scholarship will be increased in next year to give benefit to the maximum students.

Director General NUML Brig Muhammad Ibrahim in his address said that Sino-Pak friendship is deep-rooted and time-tested and such kind gestures will have positive impact on the relations of two countries.  It is important to mention that 300 students applied for the scholarship, 103 were called for interview after scrutiny and later by the independent committee recommended 89 students for the scholarship.

Capacity Building: Skills workshop ends at NUML

Ambassador said that learning languages of each other is essential for enhancement of bilateral relations. Future of both the countries is linked with the young and energetic youth of both sides, Jing said. He said that NUML has become a brand in China for learning languages and education. He vowed that amount of the scholarship will be increased next year to give benefit to the maximum students.

Chinese Cultural Counsellor You Yi, NUML Director General Brig Muhammad Ibrahim, varsity’s registrar, deans, directors and heads of departments, faculty members and students were present at the ceremony held at the NUML auditorium.

Chinese students briefed on security, threats

Ibrahim said Sino-Pak friendship is deep rooted and time tested and scholarships are going to further strengthen love of the people of Pakistan for China.

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1702621/1-chinese-embassy-awards-89-need-based-scholarships/

CPEC to prove game changer for coming generations: Marriyum

ISLAMABAD: Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage Marriyum Aurangzeb Thursday said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a game changer for the coming generations as it would strengthen the economies of entire region.

Speaking as chief guest at the third anniversary of China Cultural Center at Pakistan National Council of Arts (PNCA) here she said that Pakistan and China were located at the center of the world and that was why the entire world was showing interest in the corridor.

She said that CPEC, a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative was proof of Pak-China friendly state-to-state relations and a symbol of trust and cooperation that both sides enjoyed with each other hence the name ‘game changer’. The cultural diplomacy between Pakistan and China had further cemented the deep-rooted bilateral relations, she added.

Marriyum observed that the Pakistan National Council of the Arts under the stewardship of its Director General Jamal Shah was not only making strenuous efforts for promoting culture within the country, but was also playing significant role in strengthening cultural diplomacy between the two countries.

The minister observed that the Pak-China friendship had been given different names at different times and CPEC had unleashed a new era of bonhomie between the two countries.

Marriyum said that Pakistan was committed to the cause of economic integration, development, strengthening the bilateral

relations, promoting cultural bonds and promoting people-to-people contacts.

She said that Pakistan and China were iron brothers and the present government wished to see the relationship gaining strength with each passing day.

She said she was glad to say that China Cultural Centre, Islamabad was instrumental to strengthening the bonds of friendship and fraternity between the two countries.

She said that at the cultural center besides cultural activities, the students were being taught the Chinese language. She appreciated the efforts of the Chinese ambassador in making the center a success.

Economic Game Changer

The minister said it was her belief that sustainability of economic prosperity and cooperation required mutual understanding of each other’s culture, heritage and language.

The minister said that Pakistan’s first-ever Film and Culture Policy has been included in the finance bill for the next budget as Pakistan was unable to use screen tourism to boost its image. She said that film, national heritage, culture and languages played key role in projecting the real soft image of Pakistan.

She said when Chinese President visited Pakistan in 2014 he and the former Pakistani prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif signed the historic agreements and inaugurated the CPEC.

She congratulated the Chinese government, the Chinese embassy and those associated with the centre on successful completion of three years.

Chinese ambassador Yao Jing, senior officials of Chinese embassy, DG PNCA Jamal Shah were also present on the occasion.

SOURCE: https://dailytimes.com.pk/230241/cpec-to-prove-game-changer-for-coming-generations-marriyum/

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Microsoft’s AI-Based Chinese-to-English Translations Are Now as Good as Humans

A team of Microsoft researches has made a major breakthrough in machine translation tech. The team has successfully developed an Artificial Intelligence system through extensive training that is as accurate as humans in translating Chinese to English.

The Accurate Translator

The folks at Microsoft told that methods like deep neural networks, deliberation networks, dual learning and joint training were used to train the AI. The purpose of this training was to reach a level of accuracy in translation similar to humans.

The system was tested on a sample of 2,000 news sentences from several newspapers that were available online. The samples were released at WMT17 research conference on which Microsoft conducted the test. Microsoft hired a team of professional Chinese to English translators to verify the results.

Even the research team was surprised by the results and how quickly they achieved them. One of the reps said,”Hitting human parity in a machine translation task is a dream that all of us have had. We just didn’t realize we’d be able to hit it so soon.”

Talking about the difficulties and differences of simple pattern recognition and machine translation, Ming Zhou of Microsoft comments,”Machine translation is much more complex than a pure pattern recognition task. People can use different words to express the exact same thing, but you cannot necessarily say which one is better.”

Source: https://propakistani.pk/2018/03/16/microsofts-ai-based-chinese-to-english-translations-are-now-as-good-as-humans/?utm_source=all_users&utm_medium=notif

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Pakistan-China signed Executive Programme of Cultural Agreement

BEIJING: Pakistan and China on Monday signed an Executive Programme of Cultural Agreement for further consolidating cultural relations and promoting people-to-people contact between the two states. Minister of State for Information, Broadcasting, National History and Literary Heritage, Marriyum Aurangzeb and Chinese Minister of Culture Luo Shugang signed the agreement on behalf of their respective countries. Ambassador of Pakistan to China and senior officials of both the countries were also present on the occasion.

The main features of the agreement include cooperation in the realm of Broadcasting and Films, Culture and Art, Education and Research, Press and Publication, Sports and Youth and Miscellaneous. The Executive Programme of cultural agreement stipulates that two sides will strengthen the mutual cooperation in the technology field of radio broadcasting, films and television between state radio, films and television organizations of both countries. The two sides shall also strengthen the news sharing mechanism between Pakistan Broadcasting Corporation and China Radio International. It also endeavors to exchange visit of a six member government cultural delegation of period of five days and to exchange visits of a twenty five member performing arts troupe for a period of seven days as well as exchange of art exhibitions. It is also to encourage the artists from two sides to carry out academic exchange in the field of culture and arts. Promotion of exchange between arts galleries, theatres, archival institute and cultural relic; restoration labs of each other’s country is also a part of the agreement.

Based on Mutually-agreed terms and conditions, Lok Virsa may organize a one-week exhibition on Pakistan folk arts and crafts in China. The exhibition aims at introducing the folk life and status quo of cultural heritage of Pakistan to the Chinese Through photos, audios and videos. Reciprocally, Lok Virsa will accept the similar exhibition from China. In Education and Research both sides shall support the exchange and cooperation between the China Scholarship Council and the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan. The two sides shall facilitate the Pakistani side to send and finance the young teaching staff to pursue master’s Degree/Doctoral Degree in China.

In press and Publication, the two sides shall exchange a six-member delegation relation to press and publication for a period of seven days, and encourage the publishing institutions to participate in the international Book Fair held in each other’s country. In the field of Sports and Youth the two sides shall strengthen the exchange of sports and shall continue to support the visits of a hundred-member youth delegation.

In her meeting with the Chinese Minister of Culture before the signing ceremony, the Minister of State said that the relations between the iron brothers and strategic partners were deeper than oceans and higher than mountains and were based on mutual trust and respect. She expressed the confidence that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would take the bilateral relations between the two countries to new heights. Marriyum said that people of both countries wanted to enhance the cultural collaboration and added that President Xi Jinping’s vision of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) was a historic milestone not only for the countries along the belt and road but also the region and beyond. The MOS said that relationship between Pakistan and China had been further strengthened by CPEC, a flagship project of BRI.

She said that after signing the agreement, there was a greater responsibility on both the countries to strive for time bound implementation process. She said that during the 19th Congress of the China Communist Party (CPC), President Xi Jinping stressed upon cultural exchanges as the fourth core component of the BRI. The Minister of State said that the economic cooperation, infrastructure development, energy projects and the people to people exchanges would enhance contacts and share & promote the heritage of both countries.

She said that the relationship between Pakistan and China had been embedded into our culture, adding that the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and National History and Literary Heritage was actively pursuing the cultural contacts between the two states. She informed her host that during the last year, CPEC Cultural Caravan was organized from Xinjiang to Gwadar. Chinese group of visual artists and performing arts also participated. She observed that today’s agreement would translate into extensive cultural contacts between the two countries and also impart sustainability to the cultural ties.

The Minister of State proposed mutual photography exhibition at the Pak-China National Culture Center in Islamabad w had already been established and also the grant of cultural scholarship to students in universities. She also proposed to establish a FM Radio with an access along the CPEC route in Pakistan. Marriyum Aurangzeb particularly mentioned the Chinese Cultural Counselor in Pakistan who made this agreement a reality.

Chinese Minister for Culture Luo Sugang welcomed the minister and her delegation and said that China and Pakistan had special relations and friendly bonds particularly after the visit of President Xi Jinping to Pakistan in 2015. In culture, both the countries shared progressive relations and would enrich cultural relationship in future. He said that CPEC as flagship project of BRI was not only a corridor for economic and trade activity but it also was a conduit to enhance cultural exchanges between the two brotherly countries. He invited the Minister of State to attend the Silk Road Cultural festival scheduled to be held in China in September this year.

He also thanked the government of Pakistan for helping in establishing China Cultural Center which was inaugurated in Islamabad last year, adding that, till now 38 different types of events including exhibitions and performing arts had been introduced in less than a year. The Chinese Culture Minister said that the two countries could work together in archaeology and heritage preservation and offered Chinese assistance for establishment of archaeology and heritage center in Pakistan. He said “We can provide training to archaeological professionals in this center,”

Among other things, Ms. Marriyum Aurangzeb and Luo Shugang discussed the future plan in regards to the establishment of Pak-China National Cultural Centre, Cultural Film Academy and Pak-China Cultural Sister College and University. The proposal of holding International Cultural CPEC Conference as well as exhibition of Pakistani movies in Chinese Cinemas also came under discussion. Minister of State and Minister of Culture, China both emphasized the need of formal agreement in establishing archeological center in Pakistan and joint production of Pak-China cultural documentaries.

“CPEC being a route of peace and prosperity is also a cultural corridor and would further encourage people to people contacts”, MOS said. She said that the China and Pakistan will work closely to upgrade preserve and rehabilitate archeological sites in Pakistan.

Earlier, talking to media, Marriyum Aurangzeb said that Pak-China friendship was a part of our culture and as a nation all the segment of Pakistani society had consensus on it. She opined that China was now altering the world’s economic map and said the way it was progressing; it would soon become number one economy of the world. Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the infrastructure development and energy projects focused on the people of two countries, adding, the development and progress would change the lives of the people of the two countries as well as the region.

The Minister of State said that the socio-economic condition of the people was getting better due to job opportunities under the CPEC and the people-oriented project would also have positive impact on the coming generations. Lauding the role of Pakistani media regarding CPEC, she said it created awareness among the people about the project adding, the print media contributed a number of editorials and articles while the Expo at Gwadar was telecast live by news channels of Pakistan.

She said that more than 5,000 businessmen and representatives of different countries participated in the Gwadar investment Expo which was a big success for the country. While commenting on Pak-China friendship, she said it was an example for the world as relations between both the countries were based on shared prosperity and mutual trust.

Source: http://paktribune.com/news/Pakistan-China-signed-Executive-Programme-of-Cultural-Agreement-280384.html