News Brief

GB CM for increasing flight operation

Lahore (Staff Reporter): Chief Minister (CM) Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman has invited the private sector to join hands with the government of Gilgit-Baltistan and start flight operation for this area. While talking to LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid, Senior Vice President Khawaja Kharar Rashid and Vice President Zeshan Khalil, the chief minister said that in Gilgit-Baltistan there were abundant opportunities in tourism, energy and infrastructure sectors. He said that PIA operation for Gilgit-Baltistan was not enough to cater to the needs. “Therefore the private sector should come forward and avail this opportunity,” he stressed. Former LCCI President Mian Shafqat Ali also spoke on the occasion. He said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) had generated lucrative investment opportunities that must be availed by the local investors.  “Under this project, industrial and economic zones are being set up which will create ample employment opportunities for people of this area,” he added.

 EU, Mexico miss breakthrough

in trade talks

BRUSSELS (Reuters): High-level talks between the EU and Mexico this week failed to reach their goal of striking a political agreement on closing large parts of trade negotiations before the year’s end, two EU officials told POLITICO. European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan and Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo held meetings until late Wednesday to seek a breakthrough on critical issues such as geographical indications, rules of origin and public procurement. While “important progress” was made, there was “not enough substance” to announce a political agreement, one official said. Malmström and Guajardo will hold a joint press conference “on the state of play and next steps regarding EU-Mexico trade negotiations” at 11:30 Thursday morning, according to a statement from the European Commission.

 UK, US hold meetings on post-Brexit ties

LONDON (AFP): The department for international trade has already agreed to keep early-stage US-UK trade talks firmly behind closed doors. All information exchanged within the UK-US trade and investment working group will be kept confidential by both sides. Keeping the talks secret is designed to build trust and allow open internal communication, letters exchanged between the UK-US trade policy chiefs explain. In his letter to US officials, the UK-US trade policy director in the British Government, Oliver Griffiths, outlines a commitment to transparency. He also vows to involve local government, the devolved administrations and the public in the process of negotiating. The letter reads: “The Government recognises the need both to conduct trade policy in a way that is transparent and inclusive and to handle any information provided, in confidence, by the United States with appropriate care and security. It means the content of the talks will not be subject to the Freedom of Information Act and it will be much more difficult for the public to learn what has been discussed.

The Government may make some information public, but this will only reflect Britain’s position, and not the US’.

“Our commitment to transparency and inclusivity means Parliament, the devolved administrations and legislatures, local government, business, trade unions, civil society and the public from every part of the United Kingdom must have the opportunity to engage with and contribute to our trade policy.”

However critics said the secrecy could raise key questions of transparency that had blighted the EU-US TTIP deal. The US-UK trade and investment working group is one of 21 set up by International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox to explore Britain’s future global trading agreements.

US-UK trade is worth around £165 billion a year, while overall investment in each other’s countries is valued at around £500 billion. And protecting the strong trading and diplomatic relationship between the two countries has been a major post-Brexit priority.

But campaign groups have accused the international trade department of giving a “Christmas gift for corporate lobbyists” by agreeing to keep talks secret.

 From ‘Made in China’ to ‘Created in China’

BEIJING (INP): China will develop into a manufacturing powerhouse, with a shift from “Made in China” to “Created in China”, it was announced here. According to Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua, the world’s second-largest economy is setting sail toward a new phase of development with Xi Jinping at the helm. The Chinese economy will focus on quality, a shift from the rapid growth the country has been known for over the past decades since the reform and opening up policy was introduced. At the country’s most important annual meeting on economic work, senior leaders said China’s economy will be characterized by more innovative manufacturing, a more secure financial system, a more open and green economy, more affordable housing and better life for the people. To achieve the goal, Xi Jinping Thought on Socialist Economy with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era will be the key, said a statement released after the Central Economic Work Conference concluded Wednesday.

The three-day conference was attended by President Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission.

This year’s Central Economic Work Conference came after the CPC’s twice-a-decade national congress in October, which drew a blueprint for China’s development over the next 30-plus years.

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