by Rikka Shi
NANNING, Sep 11th (Gwadar Pro) – 70th Anniversary of Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Pakistan & Bilateral Trade/Investment Forum was held as a sub-activity of the 18th China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) on Saturday (11th) in Nanning. The event was sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce, Pakistan’s Ministry of Commerce, the Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, and the Pakistani Embassy in China.
The forum, themed " Jointly building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and sharing the opportunities of China-Pakistan economic and trade cooperation in the new era", aims to promote the high-quality development of BRI and CPEC and discusses how to make full use of CAEXPO to promote trilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation among China, Pakistan and ASEAN.
Liu Hongwu, Vice Chairman of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Ren Hongbin, Vice Minister of Commerce of China, Moin ul Haque, Pakistani Ambassador to China, Nong Rong, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan, and Saeed Hamid Ali, Assistant Secretary of The Ministry of Commerce of Pakistan attended and addressed the forum. Wang Lei, Secretary General of the Secretariat of CAEXPO hosted the forum.
Ren Hongbin said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties 70 years ago, China and Pakistan have maintained vigorous relations and signed and implemented a series of agreements and guiding documents. China has been Pakistan's largest trading partner for six consecutive years. In the first half of 2021, two-way trade reached $12.65 billion. In 2020, China's direct investment in Pakistan was $532.8 million, and China has been Pakistan's largest source of foreign investment for many years in a row. In addition, bilateral anti-epidemic cooperation has achieved remarkable results, and a batch of important consensus has been reached on promoting trade and investment in order to rapidly recover the economy of the two countries in the post-epidemic era.”
Ren added: “At a new historical starting point, China is ready to further deepen its economic and trade cooperation with Pakistan and continue to take positive measures to expand the import from Pakistan. China hopes that Pakistan will make good use of CAEXPO and other platforms to actively display its products, technologies and services, further expand its export to China, promote sustained growth of bilateral trade, strengthen cooperation in infrastructure construction, mineral exploitation and other key areas, and push for deeper and more concrete China-Pakistan all-weather strategic cooperative partnership.”
Liu Hongwu said in his opening words: “in recent years, the growing communication between Guangxi and Pakistan in the areas of economy and trade, agriculture, science and technology continued to be deepened. The trade volume between Guangxi and Pakistan reached $112 million in 2020, up 130% from the previous year. Pakistan’s export volume to Guangxi is ranked in the top3 provinces in China, and up 358.8% from the previous year. The two sides have maintained close exchanges and cooperation in buffalo breeding and sugarcane planting technologies. A number of universities and research institutes in Guangxi have set up joint laboratories with Pakistan to deepen cooperation in scientific research. Guangxi is willing to share the new opportunities and new routes with Pakistan, to strengthen economic cooperation and to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results.
Syed Hamid Ali congratulated the Chinese government for co-hosting commemorative activities marking the 70th anniversary of China-Pakistan diplomatic ties during the 18th CAEXPO. He said China-Pakistan relations have set an example for the rest of the world. In recent years, bilateral trade and investment relations have been developing steadily. The China-Pakistan FTA and CPEC have laid a sound and credible institutional foundation for closer business and economic exchanges between the two countries. There is a huge potential for bilateral cooperation in information and communication technology, banking and other services. China, ASEAN and Pakistan have a long history of cooperation. It is necessary to promote multi-channel transportation and multi-dimensional connectivity, in order to transform the bilateral economic relationship into a tripartite relationship. The Pakistani side will provide investors with the most favorable policies and support.
Moin Haque said: “Pakistan has already opened the market of China and ASEAN. Now Pakistan has FTA with China, and launched its second phase last year. In recent years, both Pakistan and China have opened their markets, and nearly 1,000 products are exported duty free. In addition, the Pakistani government is also helping promote trade and create an enabling environment for our traders to converge here and share their projects, and the results are clear and evident. These years, Pakistan's exports have recorded a new volume, exports to China are showing great momentum as well, and we hope that by the end of this year, we will have a new breakthrough.”
Nong Rong said: “CAEXPO is an important platform for cooperation between China and ASEAN countries. Through the special partner mechanism, it provides a broad stage for BRI countries to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with China and ASEAN countries. Pakistan is an important participant of BRI, a specially invited partner of the 17th and 18th CAEXPO, and also an important member of the ASEAN Regional Forum. As the world is facing the severe test of changes and COVID-19, the two sides should continue to follow the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries to promote high-quality development of CPEC and bring more benefits to our people.”
The fruitful trade outcomes of this year's Expo may further deepen Pakistan-China-ASEAN tripartite cooperation. During the signing ceremony of the 18th CAEXPO, 179 international cooperation projects were signed, with a total investment of over $46 billion, increasing 13.7% compared with the 17th CAEXPO, and the total investment of signed projects set a record in history.
The forum was held online and offline simultaneously, covering China, ASEAN and other RCEP countries, opening an important channel for investment in Pakistan. During the 18th CAEXPO and the Bilateral Trade/Investment Forum, visitors from different countries showed great interest in Pakistani exhibitors' textiles, jade products, handmade furniture and so on.
This article originally appeared on Gwadar Pro.