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Pakistan, China agree to include social sector projects under CPEC

China to establish nine SEZs for technology transfer, skill development and agriculture projects

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have jointly agreed to form a joint working group (JWG) on social sector projects under the multi-billion-dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

A source who was a part of the delegation-level talks at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Pakistan Today that during the meeting, Pakistan highlighted the dire need to include social sector projects under the CPEC portfolio.

“During the talks, Pakistani delegation was of the view that although there was a significant focus on energy and infrastructure projects under the CPEC portfolio, there was little focus on projects related to human development. As human development is necessary to support any economic project, there is a need to include projects of education, skill development, health and agriculture under CPEC,” the source said.

The Pakistani delegates also highlighted the need for inclusion of local people of Gwadar in CPEC. “While Gwadar would become a modern port city, there are no social projects to help promote human development of the inhabitants of Gwadar,” it was said during the meeting.

The source further revealed that both the sides agreed to expand the horizon of CPEC by forming a new JWG for social sector projects. It was decided that experts from both sides could identify and install projects linked to agriculture, health and education sectors in Pakistan under the CPEC umbrella.

The source said that China was going to establish nine special economic zones (SEZs) under which technology transfer, skill development and agriculture projects would be installed. The step would enhance local trade besides creating around 70,000 jobs for locals.

Both the sides identified 10 areas of cooperation for better coordination under CPEC. The meeting also discussed industry relocation, vocational training, strengthening of agricultural base and opportunities provided to farmers. China agreed to import more Pakistani goods so that the trade deficit between the two brotherly countries, which has risen significantly in wake of massive imports from China after CPEC launch, could be brought down.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at hussainmian@gmail.com

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Tags: agricultureChinaChina Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)EconomyJoint Working GroupPakistansocial projects

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