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Chinese team takes up CPEC security with minister

ISLAMABAD – A Chinese delegation comprising of 12 members headed by Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing met with Interior Minister Brigadier (Retd) Ijaz Ahmad Shah to discuss security matters pertaining to China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “To further strengthen cooperation with China in all aspects of our bilateral relations, the security of economic development is very vital,” said the minister.

Ministry of Interior is playing a lead role in CPEC security and has established multiple operational and working mechanisms to achieve the desired objectives, he added. It is important to note here that the Joint Technical Expert Working has offered technological assistance on security management of CPEC. The Chinese ambassador put emphasis on increased use of technology in operational matters to ensure efficiency and smooth functioning of projects.

Beijing says ready to further expand CPEC

The delegation shared their ideas and future prospects with the minister that were positively welcomed and both sides agreed on mutual cooperation to make sure that CPEC becomes a success. The security matters pertaining to Gwadar Port and surrounding areas were also discussed and possible measures were proposed. “I feel pleased to have talks with Chinese delegation and look forward to even stronger relations between the two countries,” The minister said and concluded with the promise to ensure effective execution of decided matters for protection and successful completion of CPEC.

APP adds: Terming the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a symbol of cooperation between the two neighbourly countries, the spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry on Tuesday said that his country would like to work with Pakistan to enrich and expand the corridor in order to achieve high quality growth so that more benefits could be delivered to peoples of the two countries and the region. While responding to a question about the completion of CPEC in Balochistan in Beijing, Geng Shuang said that recently the trial of China Power Hub Generation Company’s 1,320 MW coal-fired project was over, and it was now put into commercial operation in Balochistan.

“This is an important energy project under the CPEC, and it would meet the power needs of millions of Pakistani households,” the foreign ministry spokesperson added. The spokesperson reiterated that both China and Pakistan were all-weather strategic partners and the CPEC was a symbol of practical cooperation between the two countries.

The Hub Power Company Ltd (HUBCO) and China Power International Holding had announced Commercial Operational Date (COD) of their 1,320MW imported coal power plant and integrated jetty with coal transshipment capacity of 4.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA). Developed in record time, as per the schedule and within projected costs, the CPHGC project is a part of the early harvest energy projects under the CPEC framework, making it truly a project of national and strategic significance. The plant will add 9 billion kWh of electricity to the national grid every year, meeting power needs of four million households in the country.

Source: The Nation

Date: 21/8/2019

Author: Imran Mukhthar

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Revised FTA with China ‘silver lining’ for Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: 

Experts have urged the government to build the country’s export capacity in order to cater to the demand from Chinese markets at competitive prices, amid finalisation of second phase of the free trade deal between Pakistan and China.

At a seminar on ‘Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (FTA): Where we are and where we are going?’ on Monday, they termed the FTA a silver lining for Pakistan’s economy and a splendid opportunity for both countries.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Embassy Economic and Commercial Section Minister Counsellor Wang Zhihua said though the trade volume between Pakistan and China had increased over the years, the trade imbalance remained the biggest challenge. “The main reason behind the trade imbalance between the two countries is of structural nature, where China has a strong manufacturing base to export goods as compared to imports,” he remarked.

Wang said the finalisation of the second phase of FTA between the two countries on the sidelines of the second Belt and Road Forum would help resolve such issues and further strengthen bilateral trade ties.

He argued that as per FTA phase two, China had agreed to eliminate duties on more than 300 products, especially in the agriculture sector, where Pakistan had the potential to expand its export basket. “We hope that the government will adopt a new industrial policy at the earliest to help improve business environment and ease of doing business,” he said, adding that it would also help Chinese investors bring more investment.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2019.

 

Eight socio-economic projects of Rs5.6bn to be implemented under CPEC framework

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Government has proposed eight projects in education, health, and agriculture sectors to be included in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Socio-Economic Development Framework worth of around Rs 5.6 billion.

Under the framework, five new schools would be established in the province at Tehsil levels at a cost of Rs 800 million which would be equipped with smart classrooms including smart interactive white boards, multimedia equipment, computer equipment, table computer for learning, teaching furniture projects and printers.

Once launched, the project is estimated to be completed within one year, sources in Punjab Planning and Development Board said.

Under the Socio-Economic Development Framework, China had agreed to provide Pakistan a grant of $1 billion for initiating various projects across the country specially in under developed areas.

In another project, Punjab Tianjin University of Technology Lahore would be upgraded at a cost of Rs 642 million by provision of machinery and equipment besides a faculty exchange programme would also be established under the project.

In health sector, three projects have been proposed including establishment of burn unit, Bahawalpur at a cost of Rs 775 million, revamping and modernizing tertiary healthcare facilities at a cost of Rs 1.66 billion and revamping specialized healthcare system at district level at a cost of Rs 800 million.

Similarly in Agriculture sector a joint cotton research laboratory would be established in Multan at a cost of Rs 186 million.

The project will help in improving the productivity of the agriculture sector by increasing cotton cultivation area and production.

It will also help in development of climate resilient cotton varieties that will ensure reliability and productivity.

The project will help farmers by lowering the need to invest in insecticides and pesticides and will help alleviate poverty in rural Punjab. Under the framework, oil laboratory in Faisalabad would be strengthened to assist research activities regarding rapeseed crop.

The project will be helpful in developing rapeseed varieties and hybrids with higher oil content and good quality edible oil.

Pest warning and quality control of pesticides is another project to be located in Sahiwal, Sargodha, D.G.Khan and Bahawalpur to benefit farmers by increasing their livelihoods and standard of living by ensuring greater crop security through increasing epidemic resilience.

The project is also expected to complement the IPM programmes of the Agriculture Department and is in line with provincial growth strategy and will also help Punjab with its compliance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The sources said that a Chinese team will due in Pakistan this month to visit all sites of the project and then will give final approval to the projects.

Source: Business Recorder

Date: 8/2/2019

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CPEC: The new world economic order

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with its flagship project the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has received enormous attention globally. Through BRI, worth over one trillion dollars, Beijing aims to increase China’s connectivity with countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and even the Pacific. CPEC is one of the first BRI projects through an investment of $63 billion in infrastructural and other projects across Pakistan. The Gwadar Port is CPEC’s centrepiece. As some countries, such as the United States and India, have apprehensions on the BRI/CPEC, there is no shortage of false or propaganda-driven information about these projects. With the aim of providing factual information on CPEC, the book CPEC: A Precursor to Regional Economic Growth and Stability, edited by Professor Zafar Iqbal Cheema, is a step in the right direction.

Comprising of a dozen chapters, this edited volume provides timely analyses of a range of geo-economic and geopolitical issues in the context of CPEC. Various chapters of the book are written by prominent experts from China and Pakistan. This book is a product of the Strategic Vision Institute’s China Studies & Information Centre based in Islamabad.

For the benefit of readers, the book is divided into four thematic sections. The first section focuses on CPEC within the Pak-China framework with chapters written by QuratulainHafeez, Hassan Dawood Butt, and M Waqas Jan. These chapters provide a comprehensive account of the historic relations between China and Pakistan and focus on geo-economic and geo-strategic aspects of CPEC.

While the first chapter comprehensively deals with the background of Pakistan-China relationship, the second chapter by Butt argues, “The overarching vision of CPEC not only includes Pakistan’s economic well-being through regionals trade but also allows it to position itself as a key regional hub for connecting diverse cultures and societies.” In the final chapter of section one, Jan presents an inclusive analysis of Gwadar and the Gwadar Port. By examining the socio-economic situation of Gwadar, the author argues, “Gwadar holds immense potential in uplifting the socio-economic conditions of a stagnant region.”

Pakistan is likely to be strategically and militarily strengthened, diplomatically integrated, technologically more advanced and socially more synthesised with China” through CPEC

Section two of the book benefits from detailed chapters by Syed Hassan Javed, Song Guoyou and Liu Jun who focus on not just the BRI but also China’s economic rise. Javed presents a comprehensive account of China’s economic model with an analysis of the role of the Communist Party. This chapter follows Song’s examination of the grand vision behind the BRI vis-à-vis regional integration. In this chapter, the author from China claims that the BRI is not merely limited to investment in infrastructural development because “the end goal of this massive initiative is to foster a joining of hearts and minds of a diverse range of people.”

Source: Daily Times

Date: August 1, 2019

Dhabeji SEZ to be energized through wind energy under CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The energy department of Sindh government is arranging alternate energy solution to provide electricity to Dhabeji Special Economic Zone in Thatta, a priority project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through wind power generation as the land falls within the natural wind corridor.

“The request by the federal government to execute this project of wind power generation under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode is already submitted to be placed in next PPP Policy board meeting”, an official in government of Sindh Investment Department said.

The official said that the SEZ would require 32 Mega Watt (MW) of electricity by 2021 and PC-I for the 32 MW has already been prepared in coordination with Karachi Electric (KE) and submitted to power division, government of Pakistan.

He said the preparation of bidding package of the project was at final stage and the project would be launched through international competitive bidding in August, 2019 while the developer would be finalized by December this year.

The Sindh government has already earmarked 1530 acres of land for Dhabeji Economic Zone which will facilitate the potential investors of China and other countries to either start new enterprizes or transfer their facilities to Pakistan.

The SEZ will have easy access of Port Qasim enabling raw material import and finished goods export without incurring major inland transportation costs and saving time.

It will also have easy access to Karachi Airport (35 km) via national highway enabling safe travel of foreign workers and management personnel while it will have direct access to the national highway enabling the transportation of goods to upcountry and Central Asian nations utilizing the National Trade Corridor.

The SEZ would provide investment opportunities in various sectors including steel foundries, automotive and auto parts, chemical and pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics engineering, textile and garments, warehousing, building material, and fast moving consumers’ goods.0

Source: Business Insider

Date: 31/7/2019

Second CPEC phase to boost industrial cooperation

ISLAMABAD: 

The second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is very important for Pakistan as it will give a boost to industrial cooperation and give birth to Special Economic Zones (SEZs), remarked Sichuan University Deputy Dean International Studies Professor Dr Song Zhihui.

Speaking at the ICCI, Song stressed that the setting up of SEZs would in turn create new opportunities for entrepreneurs of both countries for forming joint ventures and investing in areas of interest.

“The first phase of CPEC focused on energy and infrastructure development in Pakistan while the second phase will focus on industrial cooperation, which will yield beneficial results for the economy of Pakistan,” he said.

“Several companies of China are interested in investing and setting up factories in Pakistan because it is the best place for them.” He expressed the desire to organize a tourism promotion conference for Pakistan in a bid to highlight its tourism potential.

Song added that China was eager to enhance imports from Pakistan, which would uplift Pakistan’s exports. He urged the ICCI to cooperate in connecting right partners with Chinese counterparts in SEZs and other areas.

Speaking to the delegation, ICCI President Ahmed Hassan Moughal said the establishment of SEZs in Pakistan under CPEC would kick off a new phase of business opportunities in the country.

He asked Chinese companies to enter Pakistan with technology transfer for joint ventures and investment.

“Due to the growing population and emerging market, many sectors of Pakistan’s economy offer immense potential for investment and Chinese companies should benefit from these emerging opportunities,” he said. 

Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2019.

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Largest transportation infrastructure under CPEC completed

ISLAMABAD, July 24 (Xinhua) — The construction of the 392-km Sukkur-Multan Motorway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been completed after the National Highway Authority (NHA) on Tuesday presented a substantial completion certification to the constructor China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

The motorway, which is known as M5 in Pakistan, is a part of the country’s Peshawar-Karachi Motorway and was completed two weeks ahead of contract due date. The M5 was designed for speeds of up to 120 km/h with a total investment of around 2.89 billion U.S. dollars.

NHA M5 General Manager Muhammad Naseem Arif said during a ceremony held in Multan that the motorway is very impressive in terms of it’s quality and construction process, adding that the authority closely worked with the CSCEC and overcame a number of difficulties so that they could complete the great project within three years.

Li Ganchun, chief of the M5 project from the CSCEC, appreciated the security provided by the Pakistani side, saying that the M5 will help Pakistan connect it’s north and south, improve the country’s transportation situation and facilitate social-economic development in the region along the motorway.

According to the CSCEC, the M5 project had created some 29,000 jobs for the locals during the construction. The Chinese constructor also built schools, roads, bridges, wells and water channel for the locals to make their lives more convenient.

Chinese firm plans to invest up to $600 million in instant services in Pakistan

With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) all set to introduce foreign capital and advanced technology in the country and create an immense number of jobs, it is clear that the project is going to have a massive impact down the road. Furthermore, it seems to have encouraged a greater amount of Chinese involvement, as shown by the recently revealed plan of a Chinese firm to provide five important services in Pakistan.

Timesaco, a company specializing in instant delivery, cargo services, and cabs, has laid out a business plan to invest $20 million in a whole host of special services in Pakistan, which include taxi service, heavy cargo delivery, orders delivery, moving automated teller machines (ATM) and vehicle advertisement facilities. Additionally, the investment will be bumped up to $600 million in the future.

The announcement was made by Timesaco Chief Operating Officer (COO) Donald Li on Wednesday. He stated that these instant services will be launched in major cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, before being introduced in other urban centers.

Apparently, Timesaco has already gone ahead with its pre-launch event in Islamabad a week ago, in which it introduced Buraq (taxi service), Fema (instant delivery) and Cargo+ (city freight service).

Mr. Li emphasized that advanced technology and the power of eCommerce will be employed in implementing these services. Customers can simply download Timesaco’s application from Google Play Store in order to start availing all five of these instant services.

With regards to the taxi service, he said that interested individuals could register their vehicles without any prerequisites whatsoever. Drivers will take away the lion’s share of their earnings i.e. 97 percent, while 2 percent of it will go to the company and the remaining 1 percent will be invested in Drivers Club for the provision of health and education facilities to the drivers’ families.

Source: TechJuice

Date: 26/7/2019

Author: Hamza Zakir

China says willing to expand CPEC framework

BEIJING    –   China is willing to enrich and expand the scope and framework of China-Pakistan Economic Cor­ridor (CPEC) for the country’s scoio-economic de­velopment and to pass on its maximum benefit to the people.

We are firmly committed to promote the con­struction of the CPEC for the benefit of the Paki­stani people,” this was stated by spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying while commenting on completion of the Sukkur-Multan section of the Peshawar-Karachi Expressway, here at a regular news briefing on Thursday.

She noted that the length of the Sukkur-Multan section is 392 km.

It is the largest transportation infrastructure project of the CPEC and one of its early harvest projects.

According to the spokesperson, the project offi­cially started in August 2016 and was completed ahead of schedule on July 23 this year.

During the construction process, the project cre­ated a large number of employment opportunities for the local area.

The project created about 29,000 jobs and trained a large number of technicians.

China believes, the spokesperson added, the completion of the project will play an impor­tant role in promoting the economic and social development of the two countries, especially Pakistan.

“We are willing to work together with Pakistan to firmly promote the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, continuously enrich and expand the connotation of the corridor, realize the high-quality development of the corridor, and bring more tangible benefits to the people of the two countries and the wider surrounding areas,” she added.

Replying to a question regarding security of the Gulf region, the spokesperson said, peace and stability in the Gulf is vital to the security and development of the entire Middle East and the world.

“The international community should form a synergy to promote the region. Peace and stabil­ity play a constructive role. The Chinese side wel­comes the relevant ideas of Russia and we are willing to strengthen communication and coordi­nation with relevant parties,” she added.

Source: The Nation

Date: 26/7/2019

Belt and Road Initiative: Target towards Globalization 5.0

The strategic initiative of the One Belt One Road Initiative has expanded and restructured with new routes being added along the initial project program. Now the plan aims to reach 4.4 Billion people in around 69 countries with a combined effect of US $ 2 trillion on their GDP. Primarily the initiative would bridge the infrastructure gap and redistribute funds amongst the Asian economies. According to the implementation guideline for the Belt and Road initiative published by China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in March 2015 “development plans along the Belt and Road routes aims to improve connectivity in five areas: policy, infrastructure, trade, currency, and people”. An area of utmost priority is given to the development of infrastructure to improve the connectivity of the region like the construction of roads, railways and ports. Another priority area is that of the energy sector that is essential for the smooth running of industries along the initiative such as power grids, oil and gas pipelines, liquefied natural gas terminals, high-voltage power lines, nuclear power reactors, renewable energy installations and other energy projects. Additionally for the flow of technology and its acceptance, the communication lines and mega IT, projects are also under the pipeline across Asia, the Middle East, East Africa and Europe.

The region is of the most significance since the global stats shows that East Asia is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing regions of the world. Despite of the rich treasures of natural resources, the Central Asia still lags behind in terms of development. This initiative understands particular issue therefore; the stem of its infrastructure is being developed from Central Asia. Such a move aims to reduce the friction in this region and to ensure a bilateral trade for equitable economic growth, development, and integration. The strategic goals of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) further emphasizes on the importance of regional stability and better understanding of each other’s political makeup to combat the forces of terrorists and extremists groups.

By the development and transformation of the infrastructure relating to transport, energy, and communication along the Road and the Belt, not only China but also regional connected economies like Pakistan would be able to solve the problems relating to regional connectivity.

 

On the other hand, the one belt one-road initiative spreads over the ASEAN countries that have a history marred with neglect of regional connectivity and a desperate need for infrastructure to overcome the impending need for stable energy resources (SIEW 2015). For a 21st, Century China moving towards globalization the challenges that come with a sustainable domestic economy are numerous. Some of these challenges include ‘lack of access to the resource markets for final products; reduction or reallocation of industrial overcapacity and diversification of its enormous US$3.51 trillion in foreign reserves.

I am of view the Belt and Road initiative is a window to crack some of these problems in an efficient manner. By the development and transformation of the infrastructure relating to transport, energy, and communication along the Road and the Belt, not only China but also regional connected economies like Pakistan would be able to solve the problems relating to regional connectivity. Over a span of two millennia, China has emerged as world power, which can be seen from the production, trade, finance culture, ecology, security, military and geopolitics. At an international level, China has evolved as a world power with substantial participation in structure, bilateral trade agreements and peace treaties. China dwells upon its span over a large unprecedented geographic region that exercises control without any military power. Therefore, the given ideology of soft power without the use of force imposes an interest-driven discourse of its political, economic, and security reality on others.

The “Reform and Opening Up” policy, has been continually working on to improve its multilateral trade agreements and strategy for economic cooperation that provides mutual benefits for future developments. The Chinese President Xi introduced the new idea that aims at creating a win-win strategy in the concept of “three together”.

Many countries playing a part in China’s One Belt One Road Initiative are working for improving infrastructure, IT and sustainable energy resources that are looking for strengthening their relationships with China. However, there are also some parties that are of the exact opposite view. Therefore the support and trust of the public and business communities, is essential for the acceptance of the initiative. The indigenous communities are very sensitive towards their religion and customs, in the countries along the path of the Belt and Road, hence getting local support for making decisions in the concerned countries relating to this multilevel and multipurpose gigantic project is very important.

China move towards globalization is not new indeed it involves the constant and persistent effort of the government, policy makers and the public at large. Pakistan should also take the same inspiration and make use of this platform at most efficient manner. Last weekend, I have attended Industrial Energy Efficiency international conference organized by Energy Foundation China in Beijing where delegates from more than 20 countries have participated and put forth their proposals to make effective use of China’s Belt and Road initiative in energy conservation, green and healthy economy.

Source: Daily Times

Date: 24/7/2019

Writer: Hassnain Javed

The writer is Master Trainer/ Advisor (PITAC), Lahore