ISLAMABAD: A three-day workshop on harnessing the opportunities and addressing the challenges of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Friday concluded at the National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST).
The workshop was jointly organised by the Chinese Study Centre and Professional Development Centre-NUST which was inaugurated by Chinese Charge DAffairs Zhao Li Jianl. Speaking on the occasion, Board of Investment (BOI) Secretary Samaira Nazir Siddiqui highlighted the significance of CPEC for Pakistan as well as other countries of the region.
She said that being one of the most important components of the Belt Road Initiative, it aims to connect over 68 countries of the world through roads, rails, seaports, airports and telecommunication networks. She appreciated the China’s continued commitment towards CEPC projects as well as friendly policies of the government that made the country an investment-lucrative destination thus enabling FDI of over $50 billion by the Chinese companies.
NUST School of Humanities and Social Sciences Principal Dr Ashfaque Hasan Khan highlighted the workshop proceedings and outcomes. He apprised the audience about the workshop participants representing various chambers, leading business houses from Pakistan and China, trade bodies, government representatives, academicians and researchers, for their candid deliberations to propose specific recommendations to the government in further optimising the dividends of CPEC.
Significant topics covered during the workshop included taxation, ease of doing business, regulatory framework, special economic zones, infrastructure projects and learning from the Chinese experience with special reference to SEZs success.
The participants developed conceptual clarity on the salient features of various aspects of the CPEC, establishment of special economic zones in Pakistan, progress achieved for the launching of nine special economic zones, lessons from China’s template of special economic zones, major hurdles in the way of launching of SEZs and corrective measures in order to fast-track them, issues responsible for the high cost of doing business, lengthy procedures and regulatory frameworks.