Beijing April 7 2023: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiative, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal has said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had not only been central to Pakistan’s economic growth, but it had also contributed to regional connectivity and development.
During a meeting with Li Chunlin, Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) in Beijing, the minister paid rich tribute to the leadership of the two countries for providing strategic guidance to the development of CPEC, which is a flagship project of BRI.
He reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong commitment to smooth and high-quality development of the next phase of CPEC with a greater focus on the development of industrial parks and Special Economic Zones.
Vice Chairman Li noted that during the recent visit of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to China, the leadership of the two countries reached an important consensus to advance CPEC development, adding that NDRC was working hard to implement the leadership’s direction.
The minister said that 2023 marked the ‘Decade of CPEC’ and the strong partnership between the Planning Division and NDRC. Recalling the signing of the CPEC Framework Agreement in Beijing on 5th July 2013 in the presence of the leadership of the two countries, he informed that the Government of Pakistan was planning to hold special events to “mark this milestone and invited Chinese leadership to attend”.
In this respect, he also extended an invitation to the Chairman NDRC to visit Pakistan and as well as hold a special session of the CPEC Joint Coordination Committee on this occasion.
The minister also sought strong support from NDRC and other relevant Chinese government institutions to advance the implementation of the ML-1, KRC and key energy projects in line with the leadership consensus.
The two sides expressed satisfaction over the completion of some key projects at Gwadar Port and agreed to continue the momentum for making it a hub of international trade and regional connectivity.
The minister remarked that Pakistan greatly valued the contributions of the Chinese IPPs in helping Pakistan achieve energy security and informed the Vice Chairman about the steps taken by his government to facilitate their projects.
Vice Chairman, Li Chunlin appreciated the contributions of the minister to the advancement of CPEC and his support to NDRC over the years and assured him of NDRC’s long-term commitment to the common objective of high-quality CPEC development.
Noting that the 11th JCC meeting had paved the way for fast-track implementation of CPEC projects, the two sides agreed to start preparing for the 12th JCC and hold technical Joint Working Group meetings on a regular basis every two months to ensure closer coordination.
On the minister’s proposal, the two sides reached a consensus to set up expert groups on enhancing Pakistan’s export potential and development of Special Economic Zones and industrial parks on the basis of the Chinese experience.
The minister also requested the vice chairman’s support and guidance in the development of high-tech industries based on his own experience of working in Shaanxi province.