New phase of CPEC

Prime Minister Imran Khan had a flourishing official visit to Beijing by meeting the top Chinese leadership on Sunday and signing a large number of agreements under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor framework. His meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People in the Chinese capital was the high matter of his visit. During the meeting, President Xi Jinping reaffirmed China’s steadfast support to Pakistan’s authority and praised the government’s time table for social and economic development and people-basic progress. He stated that China-Pakistan ties would continue to acquire greater power and accelerate practical cooperation in the time to come. The two sides also exchanged points of view on the regional situation, as well as in Afghanistan and South Asia. President Xi moreover stated China’s recognition for Pakistan’s persistent and gainful efforts in the fight against terrorism and to create a peaceful region. Prime Minister Imran highlighted the significance of CPEC for Pakistan’s economy and noted with happiness its acceleration into new areas of development comprising industrial development; subsistence projects; social improvement; and agriculture in accordance with the major focus of government. He wished that Chinese investment in SEZs would accelerate Pakistan’s industrial base and assist in increase its export.
The MoUs and the second stage Free Trade Agreement were signed towards the end of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s second trip to China in six months. The prime minister’s latest visit to Beijing was for attending the second Belt and Road Forum and talks with the Chinese leadership on the enlarged CPEC. The past visit was more about the future course of the CPEC after the change of government in Pakistan and asking China’s help for dealing with the balance of payments troubles. China will incur $1billion on 27 projects; assist Pakistan Railways modernized its capacity. The new phase of the CPEC would be only by industrialization.
In the next stage, Chinese are planning to cooperate with Pakistan for dependence of a heavy industry SEZ in Dhabeji (Sindh) and a hi-tech SEZ in Islamabad. Chinese investors are, at the same time also signing up joint ventures in a local SEZ in Faisalabad. Accordingly trade being an important component of the CPEC, the two sides completed the second stage of the Free Trade Agreement. The new Free Trade Agreement which was signed after negotiations ranging over seven years, is objected at boosting trade relation. Within the new Free Trade Agreement China would open above 90 percent of its market for Pakistani goods whereas Pakistan would share about 65 percent of its market with Chinese exports. This would help in correcting, to some extent, the trade imbalance between the two countries, which was at $9.7 billion previous year. The two sides also signed an agreement on a technical package for modernization of Pakistan’s main railway line ML-1. On finishing of ML-1, the Pakistan Railways will advantage in terms of increase in speed from 65 kilometer per hour to 105 kilometer per hour to 120 kilometer per hour to 160 kilometer per hour, increase in line capacity from 34 to 171 trains each way per day, increase in freight volumes from six to 35 million tons per year by 2025, increase in passenger trains from 20 to 40 each way per day and increase in railway share of freight transport size from the present less than 4 percent to 20 percent. Within the framework the next stage of the agreement, the ministry of railways and the National Railway Administration of China will collectively initiate the construction work on the project. Before start of work, the last cost of the project would be drawn up and agreement of financing would be concluded after taking into account the available alternative for financing. The signing of the ‘Declaration for Preliminary Design’ for completion of the first stage of Pakistan Railways’ existing mainline (ML-1) has laid the base of cooperation between Pakistan and China in the railways sector. Other agreements signed during PM Khan’s visit were on setting up of a dry port at Havelian, economic and technical cooperation and cooperation in the field of marine sciences. China admired for Pakistan’s stable and gainful efforts in the battle against terrorism and creating a peaceful region. During the meeting between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Prime Minister Li, the two sides agreed to additional political, security, economic, education, science and technology, cultural and people-to-people connection. In the midst of huge reduction in developmental spending, questions have been large about the destiny of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Many CPEC projects are receiving no fund from the government. China trades theoretically demonstrate an agreement that is advantageous to Pakistan. The only path it can work is for Pakistan to accelerate its production capacity and exports in the international market. Pakistan is now five years into the CPEC agreements, which is adequate, time to begin to make goal assessments of the costs and benefits of the project to the country’s economy. Agreements concerning projects costing $64 billion were signed on the occasion. Pakistan and China have now entered discussions to finalize the second stage of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. The attendance of Russian and Italian leaders provided the Forum a political significance as well as to its economic worth.

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