LAHORE - Two agreements for increasing cooperation between Punjab government and Shandong Province and six MoUs were signed for collaboration among private sector of both the provinces here yesterday.

Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Shandong Vice Governor Xia Geng signed the agreements. Under framework agreement, Shandong province will cooperate in setting up of industrial park in Punjab. Under the agreements, cooperation will be enhanced in agriculture, livestock and dairy, energy, mining, infrastructure, health, education, information technology, manufacturing, economic and industrial zone development, trade of goods and services, tourism, banking and financial services while private sector will be encouraged for increasing investment and expanding trade relations. Besides, trade seminars will be held and trade delegations will be exchanged.

The signing ceremony was held at the inaugural session of Punjab Shandong Business Forum organized by Punjab Investment Board at a local hotel, here yesterday.

The Chief Minister said that China has provided a strong foundation of progress and prosperity in Pakistan and now Pakistani investors and businesspersons should come forward to benefit from this great opportunity and also realize the people to play their due role in this regard. He said that cooperation between Punjab and Chinese Province Shandong is continuing however, bilateral economic contacts will further be promoted.

He said that Punjab and Shandong can become great partners in this journey to progress and prosperity.

In his addressm Shehbaz Sharif welcomed vice Governor of Shandong, members of his delegation and investors and said cooperation in energy, textile and other sectors is continuing between Punjab and Shandong and both the provinces can become partners in industrial sectors.

The Chief Minister said that Punjab and Shandong can prove to be great partners with regard to progress and prosperity by increasing bilateral cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, textile, information technology, manufacturing, medicines, engineering, transport and other sectors.

He said that under CPEC, projects are being executed speedily throughout Pakistan. He said that under CPEC, Shandong has made investment of $1.8 billion in 1320 mw coal power plant project at Sahiwal and work is being continued vigorously on this project. Similarly, MoU has been signed with regard to installation of a similar project at Rahim Yar Khan while Haier Ruba is also prominent in electronic sector.

He said that China is a great, sincere and trustworthy friend of Pakistan and CPEC is a clear proof to friendship of both the countries. He said that China wants to see his friend Pakistan a developed country and investment of 46 billion dollars of China is reflection of this resolve. Pak-China friendship is unprecedented in the history of the world and excellent example of sacrifice, he added.

The Chief Minister said that Lahore Orange Line Metro Train Project is a splendid gift of China for people of Pakistan and hundred percent investment in this project has been made by China.

He said that latest and comfortable transport facilities will become available to common man through this great project of Orange Line Metro Train. He said that unfortunately, a handful of elites are opposing this project of common man for personal interests. He said that this group of elites is unhappy over provision of modern transport facilities to the poor people. He expressed the hope that judiciary will give decision on merit. He said that elites will not be allowed to create hurdles in this splendid project of modern transport system for common man under the garb of opposition to the poor and metro train project will be furthered. The Chief Minister appealed to media and public to support Orange Line Metro Train Project and supplement government efforts for its early completion in order to get rid of dilapidated rickshaws, qingqi rickshaws and wrecked wagons. He said that China has proved its friendship with Pakistan by giving investment package of $46 billion and now it is our responsibility to benefit from these opportunities.

He said that Punjab government is setting up of a state-of-the-art Apparel Park near motorway, which will benefit garments and textile industry and added that Shandong can also extend cooperation in this regard.

He said that Shandong is a developed province of China and its GDP is one trillion dollars while volume of its exports is $240 billion, which is ten times more than overall exports of Pakistan. He said that agreements for enhancing bilateral economic cooperation between Punjab government and Shandong augers well due to which Punjab will get an opportunity of benefitting from technology of Shandong Province.

He said that the region can become developed by implementing upon the one belt one road vision of Chinese President. The Chief Minister said that efforts are continuing round the clock for giving a practical shape to the development strategy and mega projects being completed throughout the country are an important step towards accomplishment of his development vision.

Addressing the seminar, Vice Governor of Shandong Xia Geng said that participation in the seminar is an honour for him and this seminar will be useful for promoting economic cooperation between the two provinces. He said that there is everlasting relation of friendship between Pakistan and China and economic cooperation of both the countries is expanding. He said that there are vast opportunities of increasing economic cooperation between Punjab and Shandong and for this purpose economic agreements have been signed. He said that cooperation will be extended to Punjab government in industry, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure and other sectors. Chinese Consul General Yu Boren while addressing the seminar said that China and Pakistan are not only good neighbors but also best economic partners and brothers. He said that relations of mutual respect exist between the people of two countries. He said that it is part of Chinese foreign policy to increase friendship and relations with Pakistan. He said that under CPEC, ties and economic cooperation of both countries have entered into a new era. He said that Punjab is an excellent place for investment and there is great economic potential here. Chairman Punjab Investment Board presented address of welcome and threw light in detail on Pak China economic cooperation and opportunities of investment in Punjab. He said that there are large scale investment opportunities for Chinese investors in agriculture, dairy farming, livestock, energy, housing, transport and other sectors in Punjab. He said that private sector of both Pakistan and China should come forward to play it role to enhance economic cooperation and make bilateral friendship stronger.