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Govt introduces policy measures to boost agriculture sector under CPEC

The ministry of national food security and research has evolved comprehensive policy measures to work for development of agriculture sector under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to boost exports of agricultural products, enhance per acre yield of major crops, and produce high-tech value added products of international standards.
The measures are part of first ever “National Food Security Policy” announced by the ministry last week.
Under the policy measures, the ministry will prepare feasibility reports of trad-able commodities for each sub zone along the corridor, and will do pilot testing of rural businesses for the identified commodities and coordination for development of business zones along the corridor.
The government will also arrange a series of training programs aimed at capacity building of rural entrepreneurs and agricultural service providers.
Similarly, innovations for quality production, post harvest handling and processing will be introduced and investment portfolios will also be developed for public private partnerships to promote rural businesses.
Business models will be developed to promote value added agriculture all along CPEC route whereas special focus would be given on modern production and market infrastructure development for grain and fruit crops, fisheries, livestock and livestock products. China is second largest importer in the world with overall imports of $1966 billion including food imports worth of over $100 billion. Pakistan’s share in Chinese imports is only $2.93 billion while in food imports, the Pakistani share is only around 1 percent. China-Pakistan economic corridor (CPEC) has provided an opportunity to increase trade on the principles of complimentary advantages and mutual benefits. According to official sources, the key areas for agricultural economic and technical cooperation between China and Pakistan will be determined by fully considering the comparative advantage and cooperation needs. There will be an opportunity to produce high-tech value added agricultural produces at international standards for different potential markets. The commodities that can be potentially exported to China include cereals, dairy eggs, honey, live animals, tobacco, meat, sea more than 40 commodities identified across the corridor for promoting rural businesses through developing entrepreneurship, processing zones, skilled manpower and modern market infrastructure. The corridor crosses through the nine agro-ecologies. —APP

SOURCE:https://pakobserver.net/govt-introduces-policy-measures-to-boost-agri-sector-under-cpec-2/

CPEC: charting a shared future

The two-day CPEC Projects Summit held in Karachi was an incredible opportunity to showcase the true potential of a project that is so central to Pakistan’s future. The coming together of all stakeholders such as the federating units, academia, policy practitioners, foreign policy experts, and economists reiterated a broad consensus across Pakistan’s national opinions on CPEC being a game-changing project for the country.

During my address, I shared the experience and story of how Punjab has fared in the implementation of the CPEC projects; what challenges we faced and the benchmarks we set in making CPEC a reality.

CPEC and Gwadar

I also used the occasion to thank the Chinese government and people for their support to Pakistan via CPEC, especially President Xi Jinping, whose vision of the Belt and Road Initiative has brought about a new era of connectivity and corridors, connecting continents, countries and cultures.

The last six months have been very important for China, as the 19thCongress of the CPC, as well as the two recent sessions held last month in Beijing have strengthened the Xi Jinping Thought as the way forward for China’s progress and its role in the world.

While CPEC is the most significant developmental initiative in the history of Pakistan, I took the opportunity to tell the gathering, given the propaganda and misconceptions, what CPEC is not.

CPEC is not about one province, one party or one government. As the name denotes, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is about the whole of Pakistan, from Gwadar to Gilgit. CPEC is also not just about electricity, or energy, or highways, or other brick and mortar projects. It is about the transformation of Pakistan into a leading emerging economy, and it is also about all-round inclusive development in a transparent manner so that the less developed areas of Pakistan are able to reap the benefits of development.

CPEC is not about China and Pakistan alone, but CPEC is about connecting the region through economy and energy, ports and pipelines, roads and railways, with Pakistan as the hub of this emerging regionalism.

CPEC success proof of Pakistan-China friendship

The spirit of CPEC lies in strong, unwavering and robust people-to-people bond between our two brotherly countries. The welfare of the people remains the driving spirit behind this mammoth development package, ever announced in the history of the world that seeks to transform lives and build a bright future for the people of Pakistan.

Ever since assuming office in my second term, I have paid several visits to China. Each visit has been an amazing lesson in how China fought heavy odds to rise as the second global economic powerhouse and military power. I have been particularly struck by the warmth and hospitality of the people of China and the commitment of the Chinese leadership and the CPEC towards Pakistan and its peace, stability and socio-economic progress.

In order to smoothen the people-to-people bond and overcome the barrier of language, the Punjab government launched a multi-million-dollar Chinese scholarship programme whereby 500 students have been sent to China to study the Chinese language. The students will serve as a bridge between the peoples of our two countries.

We are also offering Chinese language courses here in the educational institutions in Punjab. Besides, a number of Centres of Excellence on Chinese Studies have been set up in universities here.

Questions are often asked as to what has CPEC achieved so far, how is it changing lives for the better and how is it transforming Pakistan? Let me cite a few examples:

• CPEC has revived dead projects like Thar Coal, which had been talked about for the last quarter of a century, but nothing was there on the ground. Today young Thari women are driving dumper trucks and bulldozers, while coal is being mined and electricity generated through this indigenous coal production.

• Gwadar Port, which was a dream 25 years ago, today is a living reality, a bustling port, the centrepiece of CPEC Projects, which lifted a million tonnes of cargo last year.

• The western route of CPEC today directly connects Quetta with Gwadar by a modern highway, with only 8 hours driving time.

• The Port Qasim power project in Sindh, and the Sahiwal power project in Punjab, both of which have been inaugurated, will help to resolve Pakistan’s decades-old energy crisis.

• The Orange Train will mark Lahore’s entry into the twenty-first century through a modern, efficient, state-of-the-art public transport system

• The Sukhi Kinari project is an important element in the resolution of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa energy crisis.

• The Karakoram Highway’s expansion and modernisation, connecting Pakistan through land route with China, is a highway of hope, a highway of progress, a highway of prosperity.

A vivid demonstration of the national consensus on CPEC Projects was the fact that during the first BRI Summit in Beijing in May 2017, all the chief ministers of the four provinces were part of the Pakistan’s delegation, led by the Prime Minister of Pakistan, in a forceful demonstration of unity of purpose on CPEC. During this visit, I visited the headquarters of National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in Beijing along with Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah and met the NDRC vice-chairman. As a result of our meeting, the financing for Karachi Circular Mass Transit Project was approved.

We in Punjab have also made our own contribution to making CPEC Projects a success, and I am grateful to our Chinese friends who have been so kind as to label some of our successes as the “Punjab Speed”.

But actually, this is a tribute to the creativity, hard work and resilience of the people of Pakistan, irrespective of whether they are in Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir or Fata.

This only goes to show that if you have the right vision, and if you can muster up the will to pursue that vision with continuity, plus a “Can Do” approach, everything is doable and achievable.

In this regard, I am reminded of the famous saying of Chairman Mao, which says: “Nothing is hard in this world, if you dare to scale the heights!” Our friendship, our strategic partnership, has been forged into a camaraderie between Pakistan and China, which President Xi Jinping rightly terms, is a bond between “Iron Brothers”.

In building the CPEC Projects, we will Inshallah scale the heights of poverty, unemployment, energy shortages, and build a better tomorrow, not just for the people of Pakistan but for the region as a whole. In this quest for a better tomorrow, Pakistan and China will march forward hand in hand, to bring about a transformation that will benefit all our people.

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1699218/2-cpec-charting-shared-future/

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CPEC to further enhance growing Pakistan-Iran relations

ISLAMABAD: The Ambassador of Pakistan to Iran Asif Durrani has said that the successful completion of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would further boost Pakistan-Iran relations as a transit hub for the region.

He said this during a reception to commemorate the 78th Pakistan’s National Day in Tehran, said a message received here on Wednesday.

Highlighting the myriad challenges that Pakistan faced in recent years, Ambassador Durrani said that Pakistan has sacrificed more than 70,000 of its citizens including armed forces personnel and law enforcement agencies in fighting terrorists and has succeeded in defeating terrorism on its soil.

He said, “Today, there are no safe havens for terrorists on our soil”. Now, Pakistan is on the path of economic progress, it is rated as the most progressive emerging market with GDP growth of 6 per cent this year and projection of 6.5 percent in the coming year, the ambassador said.

Ambassador Durrani lauded the bilateral Pakistan-Iran relations which are getting stronger by the day and said that both countries have displayed exemplary cooperation on many regional and international issues. With 35 per cent increase in bilateral trade since last year, the ambassador expressed hope of attaining $5 billion mark of bilateral trade in the next three years.

Iran’s Interior Minister Fazli, in his speech, extended felicitations to the Government and people of Pakistan on Pakistan’s National Day and lauded commemorating of 70 years of history between Pakistan-Iran relations including cultural, civilisational, religious and historical relations.

The Iranian Interior Minister reiterated the interest of the Supreme Leader of Iran on the expansion and deepening relations with Pakistan and said that it has given further strength to these bonds, which has been followed by all the governments of Iran, especially the present govt of Rouhani.

Fazli hoped that opening of new border points between both the countries would enhance the potential of border markets and border security. The development of Gwadar and Chabahar ports, the signing of FTA and implementation of PTA, establishing banking channels between Pakistan and Iran would bring about economic prosperity for both the neighbours and the region and helps in improving Pakistan-china relations.

At the end of the ceremony, Durrani, Fazli and the dignitaries cut a cake to mark Pakistan- Iran friendship.

SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/12/cpec-to-further-enhance-growing-pak-iran-relations/

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China threatens to hit back at US with tariffs on 106 more US products

BEIJING: Just hours after the Trump administration unveiled a list of $50 billion worth of Chinese goods on which the White House plans to impose 25 per cent tariffs, China hit back with its own list of 106 US products, including soybeans, corn, cars as well as aircrafts, that it would also target with tariffs of 25 per cent if the US does not back down.

The US’s list of 1,333 imports which ranges from aerospace equipment to industrial robots, satellites, semiconductor parts and machinery for everything from railways to biscuit ovens – specifically targets a key Chinese campaign to upgrade its economy called “Made in China 2025”.

That Made in China national plan, designed to turn China into a “manufacturing superpower” by investing in sectors such as IT, new energy vehicles, robotics and other forms of smart manufacturing, may be the real sticking point in a potential trade war between China and the US.

“Made in China 2025 is a must for China,” said an independent economist based in Shanghai. “Thus it will be China’s bottom line. We can negotiate, we can bargain on this, we can impose small punishments on each other but if the US touches on the foundation of Made in China 2025, there will definitely be a large trade war,” she said.

Beijing describes Made in China, first introduced by a Chinese think-tank in 2013 and adopted by the Chinese government in 2015, as an effort to avoid the middle-income trap that developing countries can fall into, and encourage home-grown innovation.

To achieve this, China wants to replace most of the foreign technology it imports with locally made components. China’s 2025 campaign is billed as a way to get the country on par with industrial heavyweights, alongside Germany, South Korea, Japan and the US.

The US and other critics do not see it in the same light. In the conclusion of the US trade office investigation into Chinese trade practices, which was the basis of president Trump’s initial announcement of the tariffs in March, the Made in China policy is mentioned numerous times.

China’s top-down approach to economic planning could also stand in the way. State support encourages companies and local officials to chase subsidies, eventually creating overcapacity, according to senior adviser and China practice lead at the Crumpton Group, Jude Blanchette. “Central planning often gets you a lot of waste,” he said. Still, he believes what can be achieved will have a critical impact. “Made in China 2025 is going to drastically change global value chains and how industries operate, if China gets half of the way, that’s going to have profound repercussions.”

Source: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/04/china-threatens-to-hit-back-at-us-with-tariffs-on-106-more-us-products/

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Pakistan will be paying China $90b against CPEC related projects

KARACHI: Pakistan will end up paying $90 billion to China over a span of 30 years against the loan and investment portfolio worth $50 billion under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor CPEC related projects, report of a brokerage house estimated.

The estimated return –  sum of principal and interest on foreign currency debt and repayment of profits/dividend on equity investment – shows 40% return on investment of CPEC related projects.

The amount increased to $54 billion after the inclusion of more CPEC related projects such as investments in Pakistan Railways and financing of the Karachi Circular Railways project. The volume of return would increase accordingly. Infrastructure and power projects – part of the CPEC portfolio and divided across time in terms of priority – are expected to be completed by fiscal year 2030.

Pak-China partnership:Dasu power project to create 8,000 jobs for locals

Topline Securities, in its report, said leading economists have estimated annual average repayments of $3-4 billion per year post fiscal year 2020.

“Average annual repayment of CPEC will be $3 billion. {However, in medium term} between fiscal year 2020-25, it will range between $2.0-5.3 billion with average payment of $3.7 billion,” Saad Hashemy, an analyst at the brokerage house, said in a report titled, ‘Pakistan’s External Account Concerns and CPEC Repayment’.

Another valid concern is over the repayment of CPEC-related projects. This is because most projects are being funded abroad and Pakistan is not seeing any significant inflow of foreign exchange.

“It should be noted that project financing for CPEC is being done between Chinese companies and banks and around 25% of CPEC investment is expected to come in Pakistan,” he said. The report argued the repayment would remain manageable despite additional burden of debt servicing and repatriate of profits on equity investment in CPEC. The amount for additional repayment would be generated from the expected surge in exports, drop in imports and increased inflow of remittances.

Trade

The brokerage house assumed exports to grow by 4.5% a year till fiscal year 2025, which is higher than the previous decade’s average of 3%. This is because of expectation of CPEC-led higher GDP growth in the coming years and positive impact on local industry.

Imports are expected to grow by 4% in line with last decade’s average. Further, remittances are expected to grow within 4-4.5%, which is lower than last couple of decade’s average of over 7% as Pakistani diaspora has to a great extent shifted to official channels of transferring money.

“We expect current account deficit to remain on average at 1.5% of GDP between FY20-25 at a range of 1.2%-1.8%,” it said. In addition, Arif Habib Limited estimated, CPEC-related transportation would earn $400-500 million per annum to Pakistan, which would be sufficient for repayments.

Revised macro estimates

At the same time, Topline Securities said Pakistan’s current account deficit (CAD) in the first seven months of current fiscal year 2017 remained much higher than expectation at $4.7 billion, which is 88% higher than last year.

“The higher CAD was mainly on account of weak exports of $12.3 billion, which posted a decline of 1.3% while imports of $25.5 billion increased by 9%,” it said. “Given the large CAD…, we are revising up our CAD forecast to $6.6 billion (from previous $4.7 billion), which is 2.2% of GDP,” it added.

“Given higher CAD, we are revising down our year end forecast of foreign exchange reserves to $22-23 billion from previous estimate of over $25 billion. “These are all time high foreign exchange and provide 4-5 months of import cover (accounting for only reserves with State Bank of Pakistan of $17-18 billion),” it said.

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Russia keen to invest in CPEC, Balochistan: Counsel General

QUETTA: Balochistan Governor Muhammad Khan Achakzai said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was creating prosperous opportunities for profitable investment in Balochistan, while ‘we want the companions of the country to take timely advantage from the Russian Federation’.

He said this while talking with Russia’s Consul General Dr Aleksander G Khozin, who called him at Governor House on Thursday. He said that Russian investors would provide all facilities and security in Balochistan’s Gwadar.

During a meeting, they discussed the relations between Pakistan and Russia, and the implementation of CPEC in the country. Governor Muhammad Khan said Balochistan is basically an agricultural area where there is a special significance of various vegetable and fruit production.

They expressed satisfaction over Russia and Pakistan’s growing relations. Russian Consulate General said that ‘we could provide Russia with an easy route to central Asia for trade expansion’.

Governor Balochistan highlighted the importance of regional cooperation organisation and regional unity, saying that due to the effective role of these organisations, the possibility of cooperation and development has been increased in the region. He hoped that relations of both countries would be more stable in future which is for benefit of people of both the countries.

SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/03/23/russia-keen-to-invest-in-cpec-balochistan-counsel-general/

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Pakistan and China to Launch a Communication Satellite for DTH Services

Pakistan and China have signed an agreement for development and launch of communication satellite PakSat Multi-Mission Satellite (PakSat-MM1).

The communication satellite already arrived at Pakistan’s geostationary orbital location of 38.2° East on 27th February. The satellite will primarily function as a communication satellite with the capability to provide Direct-to-Home (DTH) services.

According to the press release by the Planning, Development and Reforms ministry, China Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC) and Pakistan will equally divide the satellite development and launch cost between them.

Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, talking on  the ceremony said;

“One important element of this contract (PakSat-MM1) is that both … sides are contributing 50%. It is a joint-effort of both countries that makes it (PakSat-MM1) even more valuable.”

Space & Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) and CGWIC signed the contract in the presence of several Chinese and Pakistani officials.

Ahsan Iqbal, while talking to the media, told that SUPARCO is working on two other satellites as well, apart from PakSat-MM1.

He added that Pakistan Remote Sensing Satellite (PRSS-1) is Pakistan’s first ever low-earth orbit (LEO) earth observation satellite with a service life of 5 years. According to the minister, PRSS-1 will be launched this year.

Originally, SUPARCO proposed the PRSS-1 project to have two satellites onboard. One satellite was said to have Electro-Optical (EO) system while the second was visioned to be equipped with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

SUPARCO is developing another satellite as well that will be solely produced and launched by SUPARCO engineers. Talking about this project, Ahsan Iqbal told;

“Pakistan Technology Evaluation Satellite-1A (PakTES-1A) is an indigenous project from concept till launch by SUPARCO engineers and scientists.”

Ahsan Iqbal, Chairman SUPARCO Qaiser Anees Khurram, Officials from CGWIC, and the Ambassador People’s Republic of China Mr. Yao Jing witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony.

Source: https://propakistani.pk/2018/03/28/pakistan-and-china-to-launch-a-communication-satellite-for-dth-services/

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Rupee value to increase due to CPEC: Ahsan Iqbal

LAHORE: Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said a new middle class market will emerge in Pakistan as the country achieves the gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 6%.

He added that the value of the Pakistani rupee, which recently plunged over 9% against the US dollar due to a bulging current account deficit, is likely to increase due to investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

While addressing the ‘Think and Grow’ summit, he said investors from Europe, Middle East and other parts of the world would start businesses in Pakistan, which will create a positive impact of CPEC on their economy. The summit was hosted by the University of Management and Technology, Lahore in collaboration with the Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Centre and the Centre of Excellence CPEC.

Govt uses ‘best tool in hand’, allows rupee fall

 Iqbal said that CPEC would be completed by 2030 in three phases. In the first phase of CPEC, energy and physical infrastructure would be developed by 2020, he said, adding that the roadmap for the formation of a National Internal Security Policy (NISP) is centred on goals defined in Vision 2025, which envisage sharing peace, stability and development.

Speakers at the summit called for actively engaging the Pakistani workforce in CPEC in order to provide them first-hand knowledge, experience and engineering being applied by Chinese experts.

They said once the project is fully functional in 2030, foreign direct investments in key areas are likely to pour into Pakistan, resulting in greater opportunities for both countries.

Addressing the summit, UMT Chairman Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad said CPEC is a beacon of hope.

He said current business models need to be replaced with new and innovative ones in order to oversimplify the business culture and attract more locals to take the risk of investment.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1674289/2-rupee-value-increase-due-cpec-ahsan-iqbal/

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Report: China, Belt and Road countries trade volumes totals to $1.1tr

According to a new report, between China and countries along the Belt and Road, trade volume added to $1.1 trillion in 2017, up 14.8 percent year-on-year, which is 3.4 percentage points higher compared to the growth of the country’s total foreign trade.

The Belt and Road initiative, proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, basically refers to building a Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. It has been well recieved by over 140 countries and regions in the last 5 years span.

Over the past five years, the initiative has been positively echoed by over 140 countries and regions, and fruitful cooperation achievements have been yielded under its framework.

Praising a more diversified investment portfolio, the minister said that China had altogether invested over $60 billion to on-route countries in various sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and infrastructure. According to the report, various projects were making good progress too. It includes the construction of railways, energy, expressways, ports and resources and the operation of manufacturing projects.

China has established 75 zones for economic and trade cooperation in countries along the routes, with a total investment of more than $27 billion.

The minister said the Belt and Road should be built into a road of peace, prosperity, opening up as well as innovation, and one that connects different civilizations.

For the next step, the ministry will launch new cooperation platforms including the first China International Import Expo, build major investment and foreign aid projects and make them well received like shiny pearls along the Belt and Road.

China will also support e-commerce through big data, promote the liberalization and facilitation of trade and investment along the Belt and Road and implement major foreign aid projects.

SOURCE: https://pakobserver.net/china-belt-and-road-countries-trade-volumes-amounted-to-1-1tr/

 

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PCJCCI identifies potential sectors for Pak-China joint ventures

LAHORE: Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has identified seven high potential sectors for joint ventures and investment between Pakistan and China, which include handicrafts, textile, leather, gemstone, sportswear, surgical instruments, and technology-based agriculture along with reclamation and salinity control.

Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) office-bearers presented a research paper to Deputy Minister China and Counsel for the Promotion of International Trade Jinan, Teng Shaung, during a meeting here at the Expo Centre, according to the joint chamber’s spokesperson on Monday.

Teng Shaung was heading an 81-member delegation to participate in the Auto Show, which got the entire auto engineering sector assembled under one roof. All government high-ups, local and international buyers and manufacturers along with machinery manufacturers, raw material providers, and service providers were present at the event. She also distributed a questionnaire backed by primary research to have direct feedback from the stakeholders of the auto market on this occasion.

The deputy minister was satisfied and hopeful for the joint business ventures in different automotive sectors. She thanked PCJCCI President SM Naveed and other office-bearers for serving as a bridge between business communities of Pakistan and China to explore and expand the opportunities in the commercial and industrial sector.

During her trip, Teng Shaung also visited many places including different trade bodies, expo centers, wholesale markets, and shared her primary research with local stakeholders. The idea behind the primary research was to gauge true potential and make a SWOT analysis for disseminating prospective investors from China in related sectors. She highly applauded the research conducted by PCJCCI in this regard and assured to disseminate the valuable findings of this research among Chinese investors.

SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/03/19/pcjcci-identifies-potential-sectors-for-pak-china-joint-ventures/