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Peace in IOR important to reap benefits of BRI: PM Abbasi

STAFF REPORT: Institute of Maritime Affairs (IMA) Bahria University, Islamabad, organised the International Maritime Symposium (IMS-2018) in the capital on “Impact of BRI on the Geo-economics of the Indian Ocean Region (IOR): Prospects for Pakistan, the Region and Beyond”. Prime Minister (PM) Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the chief guest on the occasion.

In his address, the prime said in reference to the importance of IOR that the global blue economy footprint showed that a major global trade share came from this region. Given the importance of the Indian Ocean and significance of globalisation, we acknowledge and appreciate the vision of Chinese President Xi Jinping for conceptualising and announcing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the economic objectives of connectivity, unimpeded trade, and financial integration, he added.

The potential scope of BRI projects was vast and its financial scale was huge, the PM said. We have to optimise our share in BRI through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and for this, Gwadar Port would play an all-important role, he added.

Furthermore, PM Abbasi also highlighted the enhanced regional economic activity arising from BRI and said this would have a positive impact on the region and beyond. “We are working hard on strategising measures to ensure that both Chabahar and Gwadar ports were utilised as sister ports, so as to diversify and manage the huge potential of CPEC and BRI,” he added.

More importantly, the regional countries could pursue economic initiatives in Afghanistan for prosperity and socio-economic development to ameliorate the trends of extremism and terrorism, he said. This would be a win-win situation for the region and the world at large, he added.

Focusing on maritime concerns, Abbasi said that he was aware of the current security concerns in IOR, adding, “There is a need for collaborative and well-coordinated response mechanism to deal with security threats in order to keep IOR peaceful and economically sound.”

He also commended the role of the armed forces of Pakistan in general and Pakistan Navy in particular for their initiatives to ensure maritime security of the country, especially the security of CPEC and Gwadar port.

In his inaugural address, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi NI (M) in his inaugural address said that the subject was deep-rooted in the remarkable trade history of the region which had transcended various races, cultures and religions.

In the 21st century, the conceived ‘Economic Networking’ through BRI would not only help to revive historical links but also contribute towards economic prosperity of the countries that had renewed transcontinental trade routes connecting Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond.

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Chabahar Port not a challenge for CPEC: PM Abbasi

Islamabad – Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi on Monday said the Iranian Chabahar Port wasn’t a challenge for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), adding for the regional development, they would have to bring more projects like CPEC.

In his address at the International Maritime Symposium held in Islamabad under the auspices of Bahria University with the theme “Impact of Belt and Road Initiative on Geo-Economics of Indian Ocean Region”, the prime minister said CPEC project spoke volumes about the Pak-China friendship and Chabahar Port.

Khaqan Abbasi underlined the need to work in collaboration with China. He said regional connectivity and trade were inevitable for the development and prosperity.

The prime minister said they had constructed 1200 kilometre-long highways in Balochistan. He said Pakistan’s economy had been strengthening, and the Country’s e growth rate remained about six percent in the current financial year.

Terming the arrangement of International Maritime Symposium very important, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan’s trade was heavily dependent upon sea lanes. He said 40 people of world trade was linked with Pakistan.

The prime minister also remarked that Afghanistan was grappling with security issues.

Earlier in his welcome address, the Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said despite numerous challenges, Pakistan Navy had formulated a robust strategy to safeguard national maritime interests.

The Naval Chief said the prime minister had approved setting up of a modern shipyard at Gwadar which would contribute significantly to Pakistan’s economy. He said the government was fully alive to Pakistan Navy’s needs and was providing essential support in meeting the emerging security imperatives.

Admiral Zafar Mahmood Abbasi said the Ministry of Ports and Shipping had been renamed as the Ministry of Maritime Affairs to broaden its scope.

The Chief of Naval Staff expressed the confidence that Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC would help realize the goal of the shared prosperity of the region.

 

SOURCE: https://en.dailypakistan.com.pk/headline/chabahar-port-not-a-challenge-for-cpec-pm-abbasi/

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Chinese top official hails Pakistan’s ‘sincere efforts to resolve Afghan conflict’

The Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson acknowledged on Monday Pakistan’s efforts to resolve the Afghan conflict, terming these conducive to create enabling environment for regional peace.

In his first visit to Kabul last week, Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi agreed on achieving the common aim of regional security through connectivity during a meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani. He also extended an invitation to Ghani to visit Pakistan.

“Pakistani Prime Minister Abbasi’s visit to Afghanistan constitutes an important step forward by the two countries towards the improvement of their relations, showcasing their sincere will for and firm confidence in dialogue and cooperation,” Geng Shuang was quoted as saying during the recent press briefing.

PM Abbasi reaches China

“We noted that the two countries reached many consensuses, including on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Action Plan for Peace and Solidarity (APAPPS), advancing the Afghan reconciliation process and enhancing regional connectivity,” he added.

China, the spokesperson maintained, highly commends and firmly supports this and believes it will be conducive to creating enabling environment for solving Afghan conflict and early realisation of peace in Afghanistan and upholding peace and stability of the two countries and this region.

Shuang further said that as a neighbour and friend to both Pakistan and Afghanistan, China stands ready to continue to play a constructive role in improving their relations, promoting cooperation among the three countries and resolving afghan conflict.

Earlier during the morning, PM Abbasi reached China in connection with addressing the Boao Forum Annual Conference for Asia as a keynote speaker. According to the Foreign Office, the conclave has been organised on the theme of an open and innovative Asia for a world of greater prosperity.

 

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1681419/1-chinese-top-official-hails-pakistans-sincere-efforts-resolve-afghan-conflict/

 

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Pakistan signs two MoUs with China for gas pipeline, oil refinery

SANYA: Prime Minister of Pakistan Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and PowerChina Limited’s Vice President Li Yanming, on Monday witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Inter-State Gas Systems (ISGS) of Pakistan and Power China for laying of North-South Gas Pipeline.

The pipeline would serve as a secure and continuous supply of affordable gas in areas currently showing increased demand for power generation and industrial use.

The prime minister also witnessed the signing of another MoU between Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Power China for construction of up-country deep conversion oil refinery and laying of a crude oil pipeline. This project will help in reducing costs of petroleum products currently being transported via road from refineries in southern parts and also ensure uninterrupted supply.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and senior officials were also present on the occasion.

Earlier on Sunday, the PM stressed the urgent need for global openness as he expressed solidarity with China’s vision of “building a community of shared future for mankind.”

The prime minister said that he will lead a delegation comprising cabinet ministers and senior level officials, which underscores the importance Pakistan attaches to the forum.

The forum, scheduled for April 8 to 11 in Boao, a town in the southern island province of Hainan, will have the theme “An Open and Innovative Asia for a World of Greater Prosperity,” which Abbasi praised as “not only pertinent but also timely.”

With Asia becoming more integrated and countries in the region forging partnerships in diverse fields including economy, trade, technology, energy, ecology and social sectors, “Openness and inclusivity are indeed the need of the hour,” he stressed.

He spoke highly of the Belt and Road initiative (BRI) as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), calling it “a transformative project representing economic cooperation between Pakistan and China.”

He said the BRI is “a truly global public good” as it is designed to impact positively a vast number of people living in geographically distinct areas but bound together by the dream of improved lives, and better access to roads, infrastructure, sustainable energy and better resources.

As the flagship project of the BRI, CPEC epitomises the vision of the two countries for comprehensive and broad-based economic cooperation, said Abbasi.

“The energy projects conceived under CPEC have alleviated the energy crisis in Pakistan and we have been successful in adding thousands of megawatts of electricity to the national grid,” he said.

CPEC energy projects have diversified Pakistan’s energy mix with investments in the country’s hydro, wind, solar and hydrocarbon energy sectors, which is also “a matter of satisfaction” for the prime minister.

The initial phase of the CPEC has done extremely well. A network of roads is under construction, and Gwadar port infrastructure is being developed, he noted.

PM Abbasi said that Pakistan is now looking forward to the next stage of CPEC development, setting up Special Economic Zones, which he believes will not only strengthen the economic and industrial base of the country but also generate thousands of jobs.

Early completion of the road and rail network and modernisation and development of Gwadar Port are also expected to “transform Pakistan from an agrarian economy to a logistics’ hub transporting goods from China to the region and the world.”

CPEC will enhance Pakistan’s connectivity not only with China but with Central and South Asia and beyond, said Abbasi, noting that it will expand bilateral and regional trade, promote economic integration, and foster economic development.

The prime minister also said that President Xi’s concept of “Building a Community of Shared Future for Mankind” is “not only revolutionary but also ties in beautifully with CPEC.”

“Together with China, we look forward to making Pakistan a major contributor to ‘building a community of shared future for mankind’ through CPEC,” he said.

 

SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/09/pakistan-signs-two-mous-with-china-for-gas-pipeline-oil-refinery/

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PM lauded for suspending FTA talks with China

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Wednesday lauded the decision of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to suspend the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with China.

The decision is praiseworthy as national interests were kept supreme in it on any other consideration, it said. The local business community has also informed the government well before the talks on the second round of FTA that further relaxations to the friendly country will damage the local industry beyond repair.

The Chinese side had refused to give any relaxation to Pakistan which was not expected by our officials, he said, adding that after suspension of talks the Chinese side has shown some flexibility which is good.

Murtaza Mughal said that Pakistan and China signed an FTA on Nov 24, 2006, which boosted Pakistani exports to China from $575 million to $2.6 billion while it increased Chinese exports to Pakistan from $3.5 billion to $14 billion resulting in a large deficit.

The losses in trade with China continue to increase by the passage of every year which Pakistani exports continue to slide as China has given more relaxations to other countries.

India and Vietnam have replaced Pakistani products in the Chinese market because Pakistan’s interests were not preferred by the Chinese authorities.

He said under-invoicing by the Chinese exporters has also become a threat to the Pakistani economy which should be tackled.

SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/11/pm-lauded-for-suspending-fta-talks-with-china/

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PM Abbasi reaches China

Prime Minister PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has reached China in connection with the Boao Forum Annual Conference for Asia, Radio Pakistan reported.

The conclave has been organised on the theme of an open and innovative Asia for a world of greater prosperity, the Foreign Office said. PM Abbasi will be one of the keynote speakers.

PM Abbasi says Afghan visit to prove a milestone

Others slated to address those present include Chinese President Xi Jinping. The premier will also meet other leaders on the sidelines of the event.

Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) will conclude in the city of Hainan on April 11. The forum brings together leaders in government, business and academia in Asia and other continents to exchange ideas on the most pressing issues in the region and the world at large, according to their website. It is also committed to promoting regional economic integration and bringing Asian countries even closer to their development goals.

Signing of MoUs

In a ceremony held in Sanya, China the PM and Li Yanming, Vice President of POWERCHINA Limited witnessed signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Inter-State Gas Systems (ISGS) of Pakistan and Power China for the laying of North-South Gas Pipeline. The pipeline will serve as a secure and continuous supply of affordable gas in areas currently showing increased demand for power generation and industrial use.

We are turning TAPI into reality: PM Abbasi

The premier also witnessed signing of another MoU between Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Power China for construction of up-country deep conversion oil refinery and laying of crude oil pipeline. This will help in reducing costs of petroleum products currently being transported via road from refineries in southern parts and also ensure uninterrupted supply.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Masood Khalid, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing and senior officials were also present on the occasion.

Pakistan has no debt fears arising out of CPEC: PM Abbasi

DAVOS: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said Pakistan didn’t have any debt fears arising out of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In an interview to the Nikkei Asian Review on sidelines of World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Abbasi stated regarding loans linked to CPEC projects, an independent body would shoulder the loan majorly and it wouldn’t necessary contribute to a rise in national debt.

Also, Abbasi stressed fears of a Chinese “debt trap” were compounded and misled. He added the CPEC had two core components, one financial sustainability and second environmental conservation and all projects were being established on these two fundamental principles.

PM Abbasi noted infrastructure development under CPEC alongside improved public security would improve global trust in Pakistan and allow foreign entities not only Chinese ones to invest with confidence.

He said economic benefits would also be reaped from improvement in power generation, lower-cost transportation and added development of Gwadar Port in Balochistan would also benefit other neighbouring countries in Central Asia.

Regarding Pakistan’s economic growth during current financial year 2017-18, Abbasi stated the rate of economic growth would be higher than FY 2016-17 when it grew by 5.3 percent, the quickest in almost a decade.

Furthermore, Abbasi said exports had shown reasonable growth in last six months and despite rupee devaluation and rise in oil prices, inflation remained under control. He predicted economic growth could possibly reach around 6 percent.

Source: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/01/26/pakistan-has-no-debt-fears-arising-out-of-cpec-pm-abbasi/