by Fatima Javed
ISLAMABAD, Mar. 11 (Gwadar Pro) – Pakistani government is taking various steps to accelerate the implementation of projects under the framework of Phase II of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Lately last year Prime Minister Imran Khan started Phase II of CPEC, which includes agricultural cooperation, development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs), relocation of Chinese industries into Pakistan, Public Private Partnerships for business prospects and employment opportunities.
In addition, water supply, development of vocational training institutes, providing health and education in remote areas of Pakistan are also included in the second phase.
For the development of SEZs, two separate meetings were recently held in which Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the establishment of 10 SEZs in the four provinces.
Five of the 10 SEZs will be established in Punjab, two each in Sindh and Baluchistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Four zones of these proposed SEZs in Punjab are assigned to Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company (PIEDMC).
PIEDMC has already completed the construction of three ones. While, the land has been acquired for the fourth zone and all preparations for its construction have already been ready.
The establishment of SEZs’ all over the country will encourage the Chinese companies and industries to relocate here.
The China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement II (CPFTA-II), a major part of Phase II of CPEC, will significantly improve Pakistani exporters’ access to the big Chinese market and thus help address the country’s ballooning trade deficit.
In terms of agricultural cooperation, some Pakistani companies have already initiated joint ventures with Chinese companies in agriculture research.
Pakistan Agriculture Research Council has signed three major agreements of cooperation with different leading Chinese agricultural institutions including Lanzhou University and China Agriculture University.
In addition, an MoU between Agriculture Research Council and China Machinery Engineering Corporation will be signed.
Pakistani government is also working on partnerships for business prospects. Phase II of CPEC projects will be completed in partnership with the private sector. The businessmen and agriculturists, having business links with China will be given priority in these projects.
The government also announced incentives including tax holidays to attract business to make investments in Pakistan through joint ventures.
Pakistani government has realized the economic, social and cultural importance of CPEC and is eager to work for its quick implementation.
As Minister of Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Asad Umar said that Pakistan expects CPEC to be a vehicle for regional integration and to make the country a conduit for regional and international trade. Pakistan wants to make CPEC “a gateway to prosperity and a door with many windows”.