China’s NDRC commits to complete CPEC on the double
BEIJING: National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China would double its efforts to finalise the projects of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a top Chinese official said on Friday.
“Pakistan and China were all-weather strategic cooperative partners and the relationship was becoming stronger with the progress on the CPEC,” Ning Jizhe, vice chairman NDRC, said during a meeting with Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning, Development & Reform and Interior in Beijing.
Accepting his invitation to lead a high level delegation to Pakistan, the NDRC vice chairman appreciated Iqbal’s contribution towards making the CPEC project a success.
“It is hoped that as an experienced counterpart in the CPEC, minster Iqbal will be a great help for China,” Jizhe said.
Iqbal said the CPEC was the most important pillar of Belt and Road Initiative and due to both nations’ commitment and sincerity, the vision of this game-changing project was translating into reality faster than ever.
He said work on the CPEC projects had seen positive progress over the past five years.
“The operationalisation of energy projects in Sahiwal and Port Qasim is a testament to the high-speed at which the CPEC projects have been completed,” the planning minister said.
He said ML1 railway upgrade project, connecting Peshawar to Karachi, formed an important part of the CPEC’s development portfolio and would benefit people, especially along the route. “It will also significantly contribute to economic and social development of Pakistan with improved and quicker logistics,” he added.
Iqbal apprised Jizhe about the other CPEC projects related to infrastructure development, energy, Gwadar, and special economic zones.
He advised the Chinese side that in order to fast-track the approval of the projects, the Joint Working Groups of CPEC in energy, infrastructure, planning, and agriculture should meet next month.
The planning minister also suggested the establishment of a new joint working group on digital economy. Taking the proposal positively, the Chinese side agreed to it in principle.
It was decided that cooperation in agriculture sector would be expanded in the light of long term plan.
Iqbal highlighted the need for promoting two-way trade and proposed an experts’ committee to work for promotion of exports from Pakistan to offset pressures from import of plant and machinery in CPEC projects.
He also underscored the need for greater procurement from local market, wherever competitive goods and services were available in Pakistan. This idea was endorsed by the NDRC official.
It was also agreed that the benefits of the CPEC will touch all regions and provinces of Pakistan as envisioned by the leaders of both countries.
In this respect, minister Iqbal proposed early implementation of projects approved in 6th meeting of Pakistan-China Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the CPEC.
During the meeting minister Iqbal invited Jizhe to attend the ground breaking ceremony of international airport and 5 million gallon water desalination project in Gwadar in May 2018.
Masood Khalid, Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Hassan Daud, PD CPEC, and senior officials from the embassy of Pakistan and NDRC were present on the occasion