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Inclusion of new sectors, projects in CPEC proposed

ISLAMABAD: The first meeting of the recently re-constituted China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Business Council was held under the chair of Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment, here at Board of Investment on Wednesday.

Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa also attended the meeting with BoI officials.

Members of the committee proposed inclusion of new sectors and projects in the CPEC. Petrochemical and its domestic production at competitive prices require establishment of petrochemical cracker and it is a best possible option to include this project into CPEC, it was suggested.

It was further suggested that tourism sector could be promoted by offering incentives and financial support.

One window facilitation for economic zones should be made in place under one authority represented by all the concerned ministries to make the country as an investment-friendly destination.

Private sector representatives further recommended that the RMB transaction should be facilitated for bilateral trade and investment with China.

In addition to business visas, facilitation in getting work visa for foreign experts be enhanced.

They recommended that infrastructure development such as manufacturing of hardware in IT sector would help to grow, expand, and boost the economy.

Pakistani institutes may take advantages of Chinese advancement in the IT sector by ensuring transfer of technology.

It was highlighted that Thar, being a place of cheap and sustainable energy resources, could be an obvious choice for big industry such as petrochemical and naphtha cracker.

Industrial cooperation is a vital part of the CPEC, and government should facilitate to expedite development of infrastructure in SEZs.

More joint ventures should be established in SEZs to look for import substitutions and equal benefits offered to international players be extended to domestic investors. Financing for second phase of the CPEC be provided by Pakistan side too in the shape of incentives.

Earlier, Secretary BoI, Fareena Mazhar briefed the participants on the role of CPEC Business Council, progress on industrial cooperation and proposed initiatives for enhancing B2B collaboration under the CPEC.

Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister for Commerce and Investment, in his opening remarks, said that the CPEC is moving to a new direction of industrial and agriculture development which needs bigger role of the private sector combined with technology companies.

Government would facilitate at the maximum level to ensure establishment of large-scale manufacturing units and information technology zones under the CPEC, he said.

He further highlighted Pakistan’s potential in petrochemical, steel manufacturing and IT sectors, appreciating the recommendations provided by the members for development of projects in these sectors with the help of Chinese and other potential investors.

Chairman BoI, Aatif R Bokhari said that the government is fully committed to ensure a business-friendly environment by providing competitive incentives to the industry.

He informed that efforts are being made to achieve the efficiency in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) by in placing one-window operation matching with the global practices.

“Rashakai would be a model zone to be established, followed by Dhabeji which is uniquely placed and open for local and foreign investors equally” he added.

He further informed that efforts were made to develop SEZs in service sectors and approval was accorded to IT Zones to facilitate information technology and software development.

Electronic vehicle and mobile phones manufacturing policies have been introduced and same could be adopted for hardware manufacturing with support of private sector, he stated.