‘CPEC Central to Pakistan’s Economic Growth’

Thu Apr 06 2023
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BEIJING: Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project was critical to Pakistan’s economic growth and contributed to regional connectivity and development.

During a meeting in Beijing with Li Chunlin, Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the minister praised the two countries’ leaders for providing strategic guidance to developing the CPEC, a flagship project of BRI.

Iqbal reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to the smooth and high-quality development of the next phase of the CPEC, with a greater emphasis on developing industrial parks and special economic zones. Vice Chairman Li stated that during Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s visit to China, the two countries’ leaders reached a consensus to advance the CPEC project and that China was working hard to implement the leadership’s vision.

‘Decade of CPEC’

According to the minister, 2023 marks the ‘decade of CPEC’ and the strong partnership between Pakistan’s planning ministry and the NDRC. He said that the Pakistani government planned special events to “mark this milestone and invited Chinese leadership to attend.”

The minister also sought strong support from the NDRC and other relevant Chinese government institutions to move the ML-1, Karachi Circular Railway and key energy projects forward per the leadership consensus.

The two sides expressed satisfaction with completing some key projects at Gwadar port and agreed to keep the momentum going toward making it a hub of international trade and regional connectivity. The minister stated that Pakistan values the contributions of Chinese IPPs in assisting Pakistan to achieve energy security and informed the Vice Chairman of the steps taken by his government to facilitate their projects.

Li Chunlin appreciated the minister for his contributions to the advancement of CPEC and his years of support to NDRC and assured him of NDRC’s long-term commitment to the common goal of high-quality CPEC development. Noting that the 11th JCC meeting paved the way for faster implementation of CPEC projects, the two sides agreed to begin planning for the 12th JCC and to hold technical Joint Working Group meetings every two months to ensure closer coordination.

The two sides agreed to form expert groups to improve Pakistan’s export potential and develop special economic zones and industrial parks based on Chinese experience.

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