PM Imran Khan invites Chinese entrepreneurs to relocate industries in SEZs being built under CPEC framework

BEIJING:Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday invited the Chinese entrepreneurs to take benefits of investment friendly policies of the present government and relocate their industries in the special economic zones being built under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a pilot project of Belt and Road Initiative.

“We want the Chinese entrepreneurs to relocate their industries in special economic zones being constructed in Pakistan just like they repositioned the industries in Vietnam and other countries,” he said while addressing the participants of Pakistan China Trade and Investment Forum organized by the Ministry of Commerce here.

More than 370 Chinese companies and businessmen and 70 entrepreneurs from Pakistan participated in the forum.

The prime minister also expressed his government’s resolve to remove impediments in the way of investment and make the doing business easy for the Chinese businessmen in Pakistan.

He said the government has offered incentives and concessions in the tax and asked them to use Pakistan as base for the export to other countries.

He said unfortunately, the previous government did not pay much attention to set up export industries but the present government has changed policy and encouraging investment, adding, “We are not only helping the exporters but also providing incentives to businessmen and traders to relocate their industries in our country.”

On the CPEC, he said, it was started with building infrastructure and couple of roads has blossomed to different areas of cooperation as now it has gone into cooperation in agriculture which is the lifeline of Pakistan.

He expressed the confidence the economic growth would improve after the rise of agriculture products with the cooperation of China.

Highlighting the security situation in the country, he said it has been greatly improved with sacrifices rendered by Pakistan’s armed forces and other security organizations. They have overcome a difficult security situation.

About relations with neighboring countries, he said, Pakistan is helping a peace process in Afghanistan and added, for the first time, there are prospects of peace and a political settlement of Afghan issue.

Regarding relations with India, he said that elections were being held in India and hoped that both the countries would resume dialogue once the new government takes charge after the elections.

He remarked that the Kashmir was a core issue between the two countries which should be resolved through talks and negotiations.

The prime minister said that Pakistan’s strategic location is important as it has China, world biggest market on one side, India, the second biggest market on the other side while it has countries full of energy resources on the Western side.

He said that Pakistan’s young population of around 110 million which is below the age of 30 is an asset and future for Pakistan.

“We seek support from China to set up a university of science and technology for education in different fields particularly Artificial Intelligence, Information Technology and other related subjects for our young population,” he added.

On the Belt and Road Forum, he said it was a great success as more that leaders from over 40 countries participated in the two-day event.

He expressed the confidence that more countries would join the Belt and Road Initiative as it is meant for the connectivity and shared prosperity.

He said several countries are now worried about the climate change and they want to take measure to mitigate its impact.

Advisor to PM on Commerce and Textile, Abdul Razzaq Dawood said after the signing of the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China, the bilateral trade and wide-ranging mutual business cooperation would increase between the two all-weather friends.

Pakistan, he said, will have greater market access to the Chinese market and begin the export of wide-ranging goods to China and enhance cooperation in agriculture and livelihood areas.

He said the Chinese agro firms are also very keen to enter into the Pakistani market and collaborate with Pakistani counterparts due to the rapidly increasing demand of the import of food products from Pakistan.

He expressed the confidence this measure will usher in an era of industrialization in Pakistan and help promote exports.

The advisor invited the Chinese companies to come to Pakistan and invest in the joint venture and re-export their goods back to China, European and African countries.

He assured that special economic zones will be made available for the relocation of Chinese industries.

Vice Chairman, Pakistan Business Council, Saqib Shirazi spoke on “Business Opportunities between China and Pakistan” and pointed out that the present government has offered a number of incentives to attract foreign investment in the country.

“It is now focusing from the government to government relations to the business to business cooperation to enhance trade and business activities”, he added.

He said the CPEC has helped overcome energy challenge, improved infrastructure and generated more than 200,000 employment opportunities across the country.

The vice chairman said a number of Chinese companies have entered to the Pakistani market and are taking advantage of the investment-friendly environment.

In his welcome address, Pakistan Ambassador to China, Masood Khalid said the second phase of FTA will help accelerate cooperation in business and trade between Pakistan and China.

“The CPEC has injected a fresh impetus into the economy of Pakistan and now both the countries are collaborating in agriculture and social sectors,” he commented.

Meanwhile, during the business to business sessions of the forum, Pakistani and Chinese companies and businessmen discussed mutual business cooperation and materialized joint ventures.

The forum is likely to result in investment from big Chinese companies and business groups in Pakistan as they are very excited to shift their manufacturing units in the proposed special economic zones.

The forum also helped create awareness among the big Chinese companies about the investment friendly environment and the measures taken by the government to enhance business activities aimed at encouraging exports and the availability of low-cost skilled labour besides the strategic geographic location of Pakistan.