Pakistan, China To Form WG On 5 New Economic Corridors Under CPEC

Business International National

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Friday agreed to establish a Working Group (WG) on five new economic corridors under the second phase of CPEC, aligning with the 5Es framework already prepared by the Planning Ministry.

The agreement was reached during a meeting between Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal, and Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Jiang Zaidong, which lasted for more than an hour here at the Planning Ministry, a news release said.

The Chinese envoy Jiang Zaidong congratulated Ahsan Iqbal on assuming the role of Planning Minister for the fourth time.

During the meeting, both sides “agreed to expedite phase 2 of the CPEC, while deciding to establish a working group on five new economic corridors, including the Corridor of Job Creation, Corridor of Innovation, Corridor of Green Energy, and Inclusive Regional Development.”

Both the Planning Ministry and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China would prepare separate concept papers on the new economic corridors, which would provide a clear road map for each sector in the future. “These concept papers will be consolidated before presentation at the upcoming Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting expected in 2024,” stated the Planning Ministry.

The Planning Ministry has already initiated the implementation of the 5Es framework, which includes Export, Energy, Equity, E-Pakistan and Environment. “This framework will be aligned with the five new economic corridors to advance Pakistan’s prosperity in each sector under the vision of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif,” emphasized the Minister highlighting the importance of accelerating Pakistan’s export capabilities through enterprise development and job creation.

The Planning Minister outlined a strategic approach to maximize the success of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) within Pakistan.

He proposed a “one plus Four” model, wherein each SEZ in Pakistan would be partnered with one province from China, one industry group to develop specialized clusters within the SEZs, one SEZ from China to provide technical expertise, and a state-owned enterprise to spearhead SEZ development.

Ahsan Iqbal emphasized that this collaborative framework would expedite the establishment and growth of SEZs in Pakistan, enhancing their competitiveness and attractiveness to investors.

The Chinese envoy appreciated Pakistan’s efforts to implement the CPEC, particularly the initiation of phase 2.

Addressing Pakistan’s need to boost the efficiency of SEZs to increase foreign exchange, the Chinese envoy suggested that officers in charge of SEZs must visit Chinese industrial parks to observe firsthand the efficiency measures practiced by Chinese authorities.

The ambassador further highlighted Pakistan’s commendable transition from an agricultural to an industrial economy.

Ahsan Iqbal stressed that the success of SEZs depends on their ability to become clusters of specific industries, fostering economies of scale and creating a vibrant ecosystem conducive to innovation and growth.

The discussions also focused on enhancing regional connectivity, with a special emphasis on critical infrastructure projects like the Gwadar Port and the M-8 motorway, which would strengthen trade links and facilitate regional integration.

The Planning Minister emphasized China’s industrial progress as exemplary and a motivational force for Pakistan to follow suit.

The minister appreciated Chinese assistance in helping Pakistan develop its exports. He stated that Pakistan’s current challenge was to determine how quickly it could build its exports through earned foreign exchange, not borrowed money.

The minister assured the ambassador that security was a prerequisite for development, and Pakistan acknowledged the full recognition of CPEC construction and security risks. “However, these risks will not disrupt work on CPEC projects. Pakistan has made significant efforts to safeguard the security of Chinese workers and will further implement top-level security measures for Chinese personnel,” he added.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *