Chinese diplomat says China ready to help Gwadar’s fishing industry grow

Consul general shares views on security, investment and fishing related matters

KARACHI: Chinese Consul General Li Bijian has said that security provision is prerequisite to attract foreign investment to Gwadar where mega projects are being undertaken under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to help the local people by providing new opportunities of employment, business, development and civic amenities.

In an exclusive interview with Pakistan Today, Li Bijian, who is looking after the consular areas of Balochistan and Sindh, said that people shall always be sensitive in dealing with the relations of security and development.

“Well, as far as the security is concerned, I am very much impressed by the great efforts of the government and the establishment of Pakistan in ensuring security. The overall security situation has been much improved despite of the effects of Covid-19. While there are still some problems in some certain areas. Generally speaking, the investors are always attaching importance in four areas: the safety of investment, the smooth operation of the business, recovering of the investment, and making profits. Without security, the investors shall not come,” said the Chinese diplomat.

He said that the people shall understand that without investment, some regions cannot develop.

“Investment would bring development and jobs for local population and also it will improve civic facilities. With industries, locals will increase their incomes and would have better services. The second phase of CPEC projects will focus more on industrial and agricultural cooperation between our two countries. These projects will inject impetus in the development of the special economic zones (SEZs), including Tapeje SEZ in Sindh and the Free Zone in Gwadar, as well as the full growing of the farm lands. All these will be the change makers and fortune makers.” he added.

Asked about the resources of Pakistan for attracting foreign investment, Bijian said that Pakistan is a rich country at this regard.

“Firstly, Pakistan has more than 220 million population and is one of the most robust consuming markets in the world. Secondly, Pakistan has the largest number of young people who have received education and are talented. Thirdly, Pakistan is an important hub of regional transportation and transit. Fourthly, Pakistan is rich in natural resources and tourist attractions,” he observed.

Asked about the measures being taken to boost sea fisheries, Bijian said that fisheries are the major source of income for the local people living along the coastal region.

“You have rich resources when it comes to fisheries. We call it blue economy. However, the local fishermen need to increase their fishing capacity to help export the seafood. So, for attracting investors to develop cold storage and processing plants, the fishermen need to develop big associations and net huge quantity of seafood which could be exported. Right now, the fishermen do not have enough seafood that could be exported,” he maintained.

He said that fishermen need bigger boats and ships and employ modern fishing tools. Moreover, he said the locals need to go in deep sea for fishing too as on seashores, the fishing is not profitable.

“Secondly, many people are catching fish and the resources also depleting fast. Fishermen need to use modern ways to protect ecosystem. They should also seek federal and provincial government’s help in developing more fishing cultures to boost their future fishing capacity,” he added.

The consul general said that China has been providing assistance to the fisherman community in Gwadar.

“We are providing engines, solar panels and fishing nets, etc. to the local fishermen to help increase their fishing capacity. So, we advise them to organise, and to purchase bigger fishing boats to increase fishing capacity. They may also adopt modern fishing methods and technology,” he added.

Moreover, he said, there is a dire need to build processing factories and coaching industries to better store the seafood.

“Cold chain industry is also a must for the future. They also need to develop fishing cultures, such as fish and shrimp cultures,” he said.

“Chinese investors are very much interested in investing in the fishing sector in Pakistan. It is very important to offer incentives to investors like tax rebate or tax-free option for some period of years,” he concluded.

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