KUNMING -  Pakistan was extended ' Guest of Honour' status at China's International Expo that began here on Monday, with eighty participating countries, mainly from South and South East Asia region.

This was a rare move, in the background of growing bilateral relations under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the country's leading role in building Belt and Road's initiative of President Xi Jinping. It was the first time that a special pavillian was provided to the Pakistani businessmen, who have set up more than 200 stalls at the expo that has been named as South and Southeast Asia Investment forum Forum (SSIF).

The SSIF, that was formally inaugurated by the Governor of Yunnan province Chen Hao was also addressed by Pakistan’s Consulate General in China Amana Baluch who thanked the Chinese government for its special gesture of goodwill towards her country, that she hoped will be a great source of help enhancing Pakistan’s export to China and other regional countries, as well as improving balance of payment position.

She termed the expo as a historical event, giving further boost to their all-round partnership.

The weeklong expo was co-sponsored by the government of Yunnan, China Chamber of International Commerce, SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Asean China Center.

The expo provided an opportunity to about 8,000 traders from all around the world to showcase their products in order to upgrade their bilateral trade's links and mutual exchanges, seeking more and more investment in their respective countries. The Pakistani products displayed at the expo are mainly leather and marble goods and furniture items and handicrafts. The opening day witnessed a huge crowd at Pakistani stalls.

Pakistan’s Consulate General Aman Baluch further said that the CPEC is the finest example of bilateral cooperation on country-to-country level. She was confident that it will be a landmark development in developing multilateral collaborative partnership between the two countries.

While speaking on the occasion, China Assistant Minister for Commerce praised high of Pakistan’s contribution towards Belt and Road’s initiative. About the CPEC, he said, it was being implemented rapidly, hoping that the two-countries’ bilateral cooperation to this effect will deliver a great amount of benefits to the people of Pakistan and help them to improve their living conditions.

Executive committee's members of SSIF said here at news conference that the event has become a regular feature and proved very successful in increasing trade volume of the participating countries, as well as deepening people-to-people.

The Chinese government, they said attached high priority to this joint forum, pushing forward their common economic interest and promoting regional connectivity.