SEZs to attract FDI, establish industrial units, create employment opportunities: Omar Ayub

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Omar Ayub Khan on Wednesday said that Pakistan and China are entering into the next phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in which Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are being established.

The SEZs would be helpful in attracting foreign direct investment, establishing industrial units, creating employment opportunities and boosting economic activities in the country.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan, graced the 15th Session of Pakistan-China Joint Economic Committee on Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Cooperation with his opening remarks.

The Minister for Economic Affairs commended the government of China for hosting the 15th Session of JEC after a long gap of eleven years.

The virtual meeting of JEC was co-chaired by Vice Minister of China Ren Hongbin, and Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Pakistan Mian Asad Hayauddin.

Minister for Economic Affairs expressed his satisfaction on completion of seventy-years of everlasting and unprecedented bilateral friendship between Pakistan and China.

To highlight the significance of the event, the Minister referred to the Bilateral Agreement for establishment of Joint Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technical Cooperation (JEC), signed in 1982, and called it the basis of bilateral cooperation.

Similarly, operationalization of Gwadar Port will also create momentum in the external trade. China has been Pakistan’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years since 2015. At present, China is Pakistan’s main source of imports and second-largest export destination.

The Minister for Economic Affairs further highlighted that Pakistan has immense investment opportunities in various sectors. Pakistan provides conducive and liberal investment environment to foreign investors and entrepreneurs.
All foreign investments are fully protected under Foreign Private Investment Promotion and Protection Act, 1976 and Protection of Economic Reforms Act, 1992.

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are also being established to meet the global challenges of competitiveness with the state-of-the-art infrastructure and connectivity.

He said the SEZ incentive package includes exemption from income tax for ten-years and one-time exemption from all custom-duties and taxes on import of capital goods.
Textile, leather, pharmaceutical and surgical industries of Pakistan are considered as best in the world and our products are exported around the globe, he said.

Accordingly, Chinese investors can benefit from the huge potential of Pakistan’s industrial sector. In this regard, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA) and Board of Investment of Pakistan can collaborate with Chinese counterparts for enhancing cooperation in industrial sector.
Furthermore, agriculture is another very important sector of the economy, especially for food security and rural development.

He emphasized that we looking forward for mutual cooperation in the areas of agricultural research, enhanced productivity, value addition and food processing through establishment of joint ventures and business-to-business contacts, he said.

The Minister for Economic Affairs expressed that Pakistan and China have always supported each other at every front. Pakistan was among the first country to show its solidarity with China at the time of outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and Pakistan’s President paid a visit to Beijing amid this pandemic.

Similarly, the government of China has also been supporting Pakistan in pandemic mitigation measures from the very beginning of the pandemic.

In order to support the Government of Pakistan’s drive for mass vaccination, Chinese companies supplied COVID-19 vaccine on priority. The government of China also provided over 4 million doses of vaccine to Pakistan free of charge.
Both sides also discussed the matters relating to development projects in energy, infrastructure and social sectors. They also agreed to promote investment and industrial cooperation on fast track basis.

Secretary, EAD Mian Asad Hayaud Din, also shared views regarding promotion of bilateral trade cooperation, exchange of experience in the context of poverty alleviation, establishment of joint working groups.

The Secretary, EAD also appreciated the measured taken by the Chinese Government to tackle COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, strengthening of cooperation under multilateral framework was also discussed.

In his concluding remarks,Vice Minister of China Ren Hongbin commented that the fruitful discussions on bilateral economic relations between delegates of the two countries will meet the objectives of deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries.

He also hoped that the next session of Pak-China JEC will be held soon in Pakistan. He reiterated that Pak-China relationship is everlasting and bound to continue on good terms in the future.

Mian Abrar
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 tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]
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