ISLAMABAD - Inaugural meeting of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of China-Pakistan economic corridor was held between Chinese delegation, led by Zhang Xiaoqiang, vice chairman National Development and Reforms Commission (NRDC), and representatives of different ministries led by Prof Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms.

Chinese delegation comprised high government officials and prominent entrepreneurs. Prof Ahsan Iqbal, in his opening remarks, said, “It is high time to transform our strongest political relations into strong economic relations. These relations are of great significance for the people of Pakistan. The corridor is not merely a transportation link but energy and telecommunication corridor also. China’s development experience of past three decades is role model for the people of Pakistan. Pakistan supports One China policy on every forum. After withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan, there will be a vacuum and this can only be filled by creating economic opportunities in the region to create jobs and economic alternatives. In this regard economic corridor is of high potential for the people of Afghanistan. Pak-China economic corridor has bilateral links with India, Afghanistan and Iran and would bolster the development in South Asia, and Middle East”.  

“Gawadar offers strategic opportunities not only to Pakistan and China but also to the rest of the world. We are keen to have Chinese investment in energy and infrastructure. We are already working with Chinese companies in Gaddani coastal energy park and in solar energy projects. He said that main challenge is to make economic relations as stranger are political relations are. He assured his Chinese counterpart with fullest cooperation from the government of Pakistan to materialize economic relations.

Zhang Xioqiang said that Pakistan and China have great potential for economic cooperation in future which will further strengthen brotherly relations with both countries.

“This will not only promote trade but also bring stability in the region by creating jobs”, He added, “This project is important for the whole region”.

Prof Iqbal briefed the delegation about functions and working of the Planning Commission. The minister said, “We are in a phase of medium and long term planning to set targets for moderately good growth in GDP and living standards by 2025. We want to transform our economy based on knowledge and expertise. Energy is our focal point in our long term policies besides modernizing infrastructure. We want to transform our exports from commodity into value added sector by the help of technology. In our long term planning private sector will be the leader of growth and government will facilitate private sector.

Briefing on the economic corridor, Iqbal said that special economic zones will be set up along with corridor. Zhang said that China will invest in energy, transportation, and infrastructure and export based industries. He also hoped that this landmark project would serve as backbone for Pakistan’s economy. He told that China will encourage Chinese investors to play a positive role in development of Pakistan.

Iqbal thanked the Chinese premier on waving off the condition of sovereign guarantee for Pakistan. He also asked Zhang to raise the ceiling of investment by Exim Bank and China Development Bank from $3 billion to $10 billion for development projects of Pakistan. Zhang agreed and told that he will raise this issue to Chinese financial institutions.