Pakistan seeks Korean investment in CPEC projects

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, Industries, Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood has urged South Korean companies to participate in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)-related projects and has also proposed the establishment of an exclusive economic zone for Korean companies as part of CPEC.

He invited Korean investors at the Pak-Korea CEO Forum held in Seoul where representatives of top Korean companies were present. Dawood headed a delegation of top players of the textile industry during the visit to South Korea. The visit has now concluded. Speaking at the forum, the PM adviser urged Korean companies to invest in Pakistan because of its improved global ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Index, which went up 11 points.

Moreover, he said, Pakistan had launched a programme titled Regulatory Guillotine to improve business regulations in an attempt to attract investment into the country. Through this programme, two to three regulations were being scrapped every month to streamline business activities. He added that Pakistan government had taken various effective steps to improve trade procedures by establishing a better trade facilitation regime.

During the trip, the PM adviser also met his Korean counterpart and deliberated the challenges and opportunities in order to enhance bilateral cooperation in trade and investment.

He emphasised that there was enormous potential for bilateral trade and investment, which needed to be exploited by both countries.

The adviser also held meetings with heads of private-sector organisations in an effort to draw investment. In order to enhance bilateral trade, the PM aide offered the Early Harvest Programme to his Korean counterpart, which may lead to a free trade agreement (FTA) between the two countries.

He also asked his counterpart to hold a meeting of the Joint Trade Committee at the earliest in order to address the trade issues and facilitate trade. The Korean minister agreed to organise the meeting by the end of the current year. The minister said big companies of South Korea were interested in investing in different projects of mutual interest, pertaining to the manufacturing of technology equipment.

“Businessmen are very much interested in making an investment in Pakistan due to huge investment opportunities and intend to engage in constant interaction with the business community for better understanding of the investment regulatory regime in the country,” the Korean minister said.

Both sides agreed to remove trade and investment bottlenecks in order to enhance bilateral economic cooperation. South Korea will also send a buying mission of importers to Pakistan in coming months.

Three CPEC projects ready for opening

ISLAMABAD – A total of three motorway projects, being executed as part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), are almost ready for their opening but the National Highway Authority has yet to decide about their final dates of inauguration.

These projects include 392km long Multan-Sukhar Motorway (M-5), 54km long package-I and 14km long package 2-D of Hakla-D.I Khan Motorway and a 40km long section of Thakot-Havelian expressway.

These CPEC projects in addition to several others were started by the previous government of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz out of which the aforementioned projects are almost ready and now the NHA will take the final decision about their opening.

However, sources informed that the NHA management is uncertain about the level of inauguration ceremonies for these important projects.

When contacted, Member Engineering Coordination Arbab Ali Dakan confirmed that these projects will be ready in the month of August and it can be opened for general public.

The projects include 392km long Multan-Sukhar Motorway, 68km long Hakla-DI Khan Motorway and 40km long section of Thakot-Havelian expressway

The Multan-Sukhar Motorway (M-5) is a part of the country’s Peshawar-Karachi Motorway and its total cost is around Rs.294 billion, which was provided by the China EXIM Bank under the CPEC. The said project is ready and now NHA is doing codal formalities to take over the project from the contractor.

The construction of Hakla-D.I Khan Motorway project is part of the western alignment of CPEC and this four-lane 285-kilometre north-south motorway starts from the Hakla on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway, near Fateh Jang interchange and ends at Yarik near Dera Ismail Khan.

The said project was divided among five packages and work was awarded to different contractors to meet the deadlines. However, the concerned project director Noor Mustafa has informed that a 54km long package-I and 14km long package 2-D of this project are ready for opening.

The package-I is between Yarak and Rahmani Khel and it is constructed by the National Logistics Cell (NLC) while the package 2-D is between Rehmani Khel to Kot Belian.

On the other side, the Thakot-Havelian is an early harvest project of CPEC and it is divided into two portions Havelian-Mansehra and Mansehra-Thakot, which are supposed to be completed in March 2020. However, according to project director Zafer Yaqoob, a 40-kilometre long portion between Havelian and Mansehra is almost ready.

He, however, informed that there are some technical issues which are being discussed with the highups and after due deliberations, the management would decide whether to open the completed section or not.

Pak-China joint cotton research laboratory to be established under CPEC framework

ISLAMABAD, Aug 04 (APP):The Punjab Government has proposed numerous new agriculture sector development projects to be included in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Socio Economic Development Framework.

Under the framework, a joint cotton research laboratory would be established in Multan at a cost of Rs 186 million to help improving the productivity of the agriculture sector by increasing cotton cultivation area and production.

It will also help in development of climate resilient cotton varieties that will ensure reliability and productivity.