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    PM visit to China to take bilateral, economic cooperation to new heights: Experts

    PM visit to China to take bilateral, economic cooperation to new heights: Experts

    PESHAWAR (APP): The wide- ranging bilateral, trade and economic cooperation between Pakistan and China would achieve new heights during the ongoing historic visit of the caretaker Prime Minister, Anwaar -ul-Haq Kakar, experts say.

    Manzoorul Haq, former Ambassador told APP on Tuesday that Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar’s landmark visit to the brotherly country China was highly important in the wake of CPEC, which is a key component of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Chinese Government.

    He maintained that active involvement of Pakistan in BRI strongly reflected the country’s steadfast commitment and dedication to fostering mutually beneficial relationships and enhancing global cooperation.

    Besides attracting $25.4 billion direct foreign investmen to Pakistan, he said CPEC has created about 236,000 jobs, promote trade and business between the two countries.

    He said completion of first phase of Rashakai Priortized Special Economic Zone (RPSEZ) with facilities of gas, roads and electricity ahead of the scheduled time early this year under CPEC was a manifestation Pakistan’s strong commitment to CPEC.

    He said RPSEZ would bolster industrialization, promote Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), construction, pharmaceutical, food and marble industries in addition to increase trade volume between Pakistan, China and other regional countries.

    Work on RPSEZ was started after signing of agreement between Pakistan and China on September 14, 2020 that paved the way of industrialization and construction activities at the project site by the domestic, Chinese and overseas Pakistanis companies.

    Following official announcement of CPEC, around 37 zones were proposed as Special Economic Zones (SEZs) for all provinces of Pakistan out of which establishment of nine SEZs were prioritized including RPSEZ, Dhabeji, Bostan Industrial Zone, Allama Iqbal Industrial City Faisalabad, ICT Model Industrial Zone Islamabad, Industrial Park Pakistan Steel Mills Port Qasim, Mirpur Industrial Zone AJK, Mohmand Marble City and Moqpondass in Gilgit-Baltistan.

    However, RPSEZ is holding a unique competitive advantage due to its close proximity to the first juncture of CPEC route, close location with Peshawar Airport, Islamabad and ML-I besides a significant resource and manufacturing base, making it an attractive destination for domestic and international investors to capture local and international markets for capital gains.

    Work on Rashakai  SEZ was initiated after inking Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during KP-China Roadshow in April 2017. After long deliberations, KP Government had signed the Concessional Agreement with CRBC to develop RPSEZ during the visit of former Prime Minister to China where he attended Second Belt and Road Forum (SBRF) and Beijing International Horticulture Exhibition (BIHE) and RPSEZ was awarded SEZ status on August 6, 2019.

    RPSEZ is a three- year project that would be developed on 1,000 acres in three different phases. Total area designated for industrial use was 702 acres and as per Federal SEZ Areas Regulations, of which 159 acres would be developed in Phase I, 279 acres in Phase II and 264 acres in Phase III besides 76 acres land for commercial use.

    In the first phase, industries related to foods processing, textile garments, home building materials, general merchandise, electronics, mines and minerals, electrical appliances, automobile and mechanical equipment would be set up and more industries to be included in later stages.

    Foods, steels, pharmaceuticals and marble industries besides SMEs being preferred by the companies and firms investing in CPEC that was already exempted from Income Tax for 10 years and custom duties on import of machinery.

    Foreign investors from brotherly countries of Turkey, Gulf, Pakistan’s origins Canadians and others have shown keen interest at RPSEZ.

    Former Chairman, Economics Department, University of Peshawar, Prof Dr Muhammad Naerm said caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar visit to China was very important where he would attend BRI event and meet world leaders on its side line.

    He said there was a large scope to increase volume of trade between Pakistan and China and other countries.

    Dr Naeem said KP’s investors spend more capital than others provinces on cargo services due to its geographical placement in term of long distance from Karachi seaport. He said RPSEZ and others such projects would enable them to capture domestic and international markets for maximum profit.

    He said RPSEZ would serve as a trade gateway for KP after commencement of full fledged operation of Gwadar sea port, construction of ML-I and Khyber Pass Economic Highway Corridor (KPEHC).

    He said most of modern SEZs in developed countries employed advanced technologies like robots, artificial intelligence and 3D printing, adding special courses in KP polytechnic educational institutes should be introduced to take full advantage of SEZs.

    He said KP was blessed with plenty of natural resources including fruits, leather, marble, gems, textile, sports, arms manufacturing, gemstones, livestock, dairy, fish farming, furniture wood, carpets, pharmaceuticals, transport, engineering and food sectors and establishment of these processing plants on quality standards would significantly enhance the country’s exports besides increasing volume of trade among Pakistan, China,  Afghanistan, Gulf and other countries.

    He said ease of doing business was imperative to provide a conducive business environment to investors and business community.

    Regulatory reforms, incentives in taxation and federal excise duties would help attract DFI, he said. 

    He suggested expediting work on establishment of new economic zones at Jalozai and extension in Nowshera economic zone (NEZ).

    The experts suggested formulation of workable industrial roadmap for economic zones at Hattar, Jalozai, Nowshera, DI Khan, Ghazi Haripur, Chitral besides setting up of marble cities in Mohmand and Buner districts.

    The experts emphasized of proactive role of BRI in fostering regional connectivity and economic development besides strengthening bilateral and economic partnership with China with a focus on infrastructure development, strengthening of railways, communication and sustainable growth.


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