The Express Tribune | 8 December 2021
Majority of CPEC projects completed: envoy
KARACHI: A majority of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects have been completed, revealed Chinese Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian.
During his visit to the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI), the senior diplomat maintained that Pakistan-China ties were not limited to CPEC, although it was playing a key role in regional development.
“Majority of CPEC projects have been completed, with Gwadar becoming the most important in the region. CPEC is an important part of Pakistan-China friendship, but the relationship between the two countries and with the business community is much deeper than that,” he contended.
Bijian expressed concern over the situation of Pakistan’s low-income class and remarked that efforts were underway to get Pakistan out of the economic difficulties.
KATI President Salman Aslam said that China is a brotherly country of Pakistan and relations between the two countries are very strong. “CPEC projects are important for the economy of both countries,” he added.
The Chinese diplomat apprised KATI officials that China had invested in various projects, including an airport, a training centre and Gwadar Port. He expressed pleasure that power crisis of Pakistan has been alleviated due to CPEC.
“Development work on Gwadar Airport is 90% completed and by 2023, the airport will start its operations,” he announced.
Bijian underlined that a hospital was also being constructed in Gwadar and it was expected to start functioning next year.
He highlighted that there were ample trade opportunities in China for Pakistani industrialists and investors.
“China has a population of 500 million middle class, which could be a big market for Pakistan. Pakistan can export fruits and vegetables to China, while China has a large seafood market, including rice and fish, from which Pakistani exporters could take full advantage,” he noted.
In addition, cooperation between the two countries in the field of information technology (IT) and electric vehicles could be enhanced further, he said.
Bijian suggested that the two countries could work out a strategy to increase Pakistan’s export volume through trade, urging Pakistani industrialists to take advantage of the free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.
The KATI president said they would brief the Chinese Consulate on his proposals for increasing exports.
KATI’s former president Danish Khan stated that Chinese investors should set up industries in Pakistan and called for holding joint trade fairs to promote Pakistani products.