Tariq Gul, Pak Afghan cargo Joint Venture with XCMG

 

The global construction industry’s equipment and machinery — intends to set up heavy equipment manufacturing plant and assembly line in Pakistan, according to a press release issued by the PM office.

XCMG, with its expertise of constructing high rise buildings and housing units, wants to partner with Prime Minister Khan’s ambitious Naya Pakistan Housing Programme (NPHP) to construct five million affordable houses over a period of five years for low-income segments of society.

The premier said that the construction of the five million houses is a flagship programme of the government which will “open new opportunities for allied industries and the youth of the country”.

He welcomed HSS and XCMG’s “commitment and interest” in the housing and manufacturing sector.

Prime Minister Khan highlighted the steps that have been taken by the government in order to facilitate investors, reduce the cost of doing business and to improve the ease of doing business.

On December 13, while chairing a meeting on ease of doing businesses, the premier issued directives for the preparation of a comprehensive plan to simplify procedures related to government approvals.

“Providing [a] conducive and business-friendly environment to investors is [the] top priority of the government,” he said today.

Tariq Gul

Lt Gen (r) Asim Bajwa to head CPEC Authority

The federal government has decided to appoint former Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief Lt Gen (r) Asim Saleem Bajwa as the head of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA) for a period of four years.

A summary has been sent to the federal cabinet for approval, which will be accepted in the next meeting.

President Dr Arif Alvi had promulgated an ordinance for the establishment of the CPECA in Oct.

The authority is aimed at accelerating the pace of CPEC-related activities, will find new drives of growth, unlock the potential of the interlinked production network and global value chains through regional and global connectivity.

In Aug, Prime Minister Imran Khan had announced that the government was forming a ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA)’ to ensure timely completion of corridor’s projects.

Presiding over a meeting at the Prime Minister Office, PM Imran had said: “To ensure uninterrupted progress on CPEC projects, CPEC Authority is being formed.”

He said the CEPCA would help ensure coordination among the departments concerned. “The completion of CPEC will not only benefit Pakistan and China but also the entire region,” the prime minister had said.

PM Imran boosted CPEC on 2nd BRI Summit

Prime Minister Imran Khan has urged world leaders to undertake joint efforts to address impediments in the way of sustainable global growth.

In his address at the 2nd Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on Friday, the prime minister presented five ways to further expand China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

“Firstly, we must undertake joint efforts to mitigate climate change. In our Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, we successfully planted a billion trees. I suggest we launch a joint project to plant 100 billion trees over the next two years, so that we can mitigate the effects of climate change for our coming generations,” said PM Imran.

“Second, we should establish a BRI Tourism Corridor to promote people-to-people contacts and inter-cultural understanding. Thirdly, an office of Anti-Corruption Cooperation should be set up to combat the scourge of white-collar crime. White-collar crimes are devastating the world.”

“We should create a poverty alleviation fund that supplements national efforts in the fight against poverty and malnourishment. In Pakistan, we have recently launched a targeted poverty alleviation programme called ‘Ehsas’. The aim should be to emulate China’s spectacular success in lifting 800 million people out of poverty within a matter of decades,” said the PM.

“Lastly, we must make concerted efforts to further liberalise trade and investment flows encouraging our private sector and businesses to collaborate in projects.”

The prime minister said BRI offers an unprecedented model of international collaboration. “In a world of geopolitical uncertainty, of rising inequality and barriers to trade, the BRI offers a model of collaboration, partnership, connectivity and shared prosperity. The presence of so many leaders today is the proof that we choose hope over despair and cooperation over confrontation.”

He said Pakistan was among the BRI’s “earliest and most enthusiastic proponents”, and spoke of the “substantial progress” achieved on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “Pakistan’s energy supplies have increased massively. Our critical infrastructure gaps are being plugged. Gwadar, once a small fishing village, is transforming rapidly into a commercial hub. Gwadar Airport will be the largest in the country.”

“Together, Pakistan and China are entering the next phase of CPEC, with greater emphasis on socio-economic uplift, poverty alleviation, agricultural cooperation and industrial development. We are expanding the frontiers of knowledge through closer engagement and deeper cooperation in the fields of education, innovation and technology.”

“Along the length of the corridor, Special Economic Zones are set to come up, offering opportunities for investments for Pakistani, Chinese and foreign entrepreneurs. Supplementing the next phase of CPEC, we are signing an expanded Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement.”

Quoting a Chinese proverb –  “The ocean is vast because it rejects no rivers” – PM Imran said Pakistan will continue “to work on the basis of mutual respect and equal opportunity, with China and other BRI partners, for a better future of our people”.

Extending an invitation to international investors, he reiterated Pakistan’s desire to partner with “all those who share the vision for a peaceful and prosperous world”.

“I take this opportunity to invite all of you to avail our liberal foreign investment regime and participate in our economy, in particular infrastructure, railways, dams, IT and manufacturing.”

Industrial cooperation: Pakistan expects to sign deal with China this month

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan hoped on Monday to achieve a breakthrough by securing Chinese financing for a crucial project of the western route and sign an agreement on industrial cooperation during a meeting of the highest decision-making body of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

While giving a briefing on the status of CPEC projects, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar reiterated that Pakistan had not offered any special treatment to Saudi Arabia under CPEC.

The minister gave the policy statement during a meeting of the Senate Special Committee on CPEC, chaired by Senator Sherry Rehman at the Parliament House.

Pakistan was trying to sign a framework agreement on industrial cooperation during the upcoming meeting of the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC), said the minister. The meeting is expected to take place either on December 18 or 21 in Beijing.

Pakistan faces a shrinking industrial base due to the rowing share of the less job-intensive services sector in the national output.

During the meeting, Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan said the implementation agreement for setting up the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) would be signed during the eighth JCC meeting. “Work on the Rashakai zone will start soon, while groundbreaking of the Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh may be held in June next year,” he said.

The true potential of CPEC could not be achieved without expanding its scope to industry and agriculture and fast tracking its implementation, commented Bakhtiar. Responding to a question, the minister said there was no possibility of a third-party strategic partnership and Pakistan had not offered CPEC platform for Saudi Arabian investment.

“There should not be any confusion on the issue of third country participation as CPEC remains a bilateral strategic initiative between China and Pakistan,” remarked Bakhtiar. The minister pointed out that both China and Pakistan had unanimously decided that some CPEC projects could be offered to third countries for investment.

“Any investment from Saudi Arabia will be in the category of foreign direct investment (FDI), but Pakistan is not extending any special treatment,” he said and added a Saudi Arabian oil company (Aramco) had shown interest in setting up an oil refinery in Gwadar and so had the United Arab Emirates.

However, confusion remains over the status of the western route of CPEC as senators from Balochistan have different points of view than what the government claims.

“It is not yet clear whether the western route will be funded under CPEC or the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP), but the likelihood is that the majority of its part will be funded through CPEC,” Bakhtiar said, adding western route projects remained part of last three meetings of the JCC but no progress was made. “CPEC cannot be a substitute of the PSDP,” said the minister. The Zhob-Dera Ismail Khan project of the western route was being taken up with China for financing and an agreement could be reached during the JCC meeting, emphasised the minister.

During a meeting of the Joint Working Group on Transport last month, Pakistan urged China to finalise implementation mechanism for the upgrade of 210km DI Khan-Zhob road and 110km Khuzdar-Basiam road.

However, China was of the view that only mature and advance projects should be pushed forward.

The DI Khan-Zhob project, which is a very critical component of the western route, faces delay because of mishandling by Pakistani authorities over the past four years.

Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan said work on nearly $20 billion worth of CPEC projects had not yet commenced, adding financing modalities of the $8.2-billion mainline project of Pakistan Railways had not been finalised so far.

Progress on some of the energy projects remained slow after Pakistan managed to bridge the energy deficit, said the secretary.

CPEC is economic future of Pakistan, reiterates COAS Gen. Bajwa

RAWALPINDI: Chief of Army Staff, General Qamar Javed Bajwa has reiterated that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the economic future of Pakistan and its security shall never be compromised.

Inter Services Public Relations said Tuesday, Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan called on the Army Chief and discussed matters of mutual interest and regional security.

The Ambassador appreciated conduct of successful visit of Chinese Foreign Minister and support for CPEC in Pakistan.

The Army Chief reiterated that CPEC is eco future of Pakistan and its security shall never be compromised.

Pakistan, China agree to strengthen strategic cooperation

ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan on Saturday agreed to strengthen the strategic cooperative partnership between the two countries.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is on a three-day official visit to Pakistan, and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi held a joint press conference at the Foreign Office after they had a one-on-one meeting and held delegation-level talks.

“China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is leading to fast paced progress,” FM Qureshi said while addressing the joint presser.

“Relations with China are an integral part of our foreign policy and CPEC is the new government’s top priority,” he added.

Speaking about the delegation-level talks held between the two countries, Qureshi said, “Bilateral relations and the regional situation were discussed.”

We also discussed trade relations, elimination of poverty, education and creation of jobs, he added.

Qureshi further said that security of Chinese citizens in Pakistan will be ensured.

“Pakistan has played a key role in eliminating terrorism and China appreciated Pakistan’s sacrifices in the war on terror,” he added.

“The purpose of the Chinese foreign minister’s meeting is to increase communication with the new government,” he added.

Qureshi also said that Yi will meet Prime Minister Imran Khan, outgoing president Mamnoon Hussain, National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Jawed Bajwa.

“The Chinese foreign minister has invited PM Imran to visit the country in November,” Qureshi further said.

Chinese State Councilor Yi also spoke on the occasion and said, “We want to strengthen relations with Pakistan.”

“Had a positive meeting with Qureshi,” he added.

Further, Yi assured, “China will continue to support Pakistan as per its foreign policy.”

Earlier today, the two counterparts held a one-on-one meeting at the Foreign Office.

Delegation-level talks between the two delegations led by the two foreign ministers were also held, according to FO spokeperson Dr Muhammad Faisal.

“Chinese State Councillor Yi underscored Beijing’s firm support to Pakistan’s socioeconomic progress and development,” the FO spokesperson said.

Yi also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Imran Khan to be the guest of honour at the International Import Expo in China.

“China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), economic cooperation, cultural and educational exchanges and regional situation were discussed during the meeting,” the spokesperson further said.

Earlier, Qureshi during his one-on-one meeting with Yi reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to further strengthen partnership with China based on strategic cooperation between the two countries.

“CPEC is imperative for socio-economic development of Pakistan,” the Pakistani foreign minister said.

The Chinese foreign minister arrived in Pakistan on Friday.

This is the first official visit by a Chinese dignitary since the new government was formed in Pakistan.

The Chinese state councilor is visiting Pakistan upon the invitation of Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

As part of CPEC, ‘Chinese only’ colony coming up in Pakistan

China is building a city for 5,00,000 Chinese nationals only at a cost of $150 million in Gwadar as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPECNSE 0.00 %). This will be the first such Chinese city in South Asia.

ET has learnt that the China-Pak Investment Corporation bought the 3.6-million square foot International Port City and will build a $150-million gated community for the anticipated 5,00,000 Chinese professionals who will be located by 2022 and work in its proposed new financial district in Gwadar.

China has such complexes or subcity for its nationals who are part of the workforce for projects in Africa and Central Asia. There are allegations that Chinese have also moved to acquire territory in eastern Russia and northern part of Myanmar, and such exclusive zones for Chinese citizens are also giving rise to considerable local resentment.

Beijing has invested in Pakistan’s pipelines, railways, highways, power plants, industrial areas and mobile networks to advance the geographical mid-way link for BRI.

In return, Chinese inland manufacturing cities have secured better links to shipping lanes and newly made free trade zones through railways, port renovation and blockchain technology.

Of the 39 proposed CPEC projects, 19 are either already completed or underway, with China spending over $18.5 billion since 2015.

Tariq Haleem Speech on first container service commences at Gwadar port under CPEC

tariq Haleem on Gwadar First VessleIt is my proud privilege to address this august gathering.

My name is Tariq Haleem and I am the Vice President of The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, known as FPCCI.

FPCCI is the apex body of Pakistan i.e. all the trade associations and all the business chambers of Pakistan have to be the members of FPCCI by law.

FPCCI has under its umbrella, 223 Trade Bodies that is 87 Chambers of Commerce and Industry plus 136 all Pakistan Associations, representing the Industry, Trade and Service sectors.

First of all I would like to recall the situation which prevailed during the time of the last concession holders. During 2008 to 2010 about 1 million tons of wheat and about 2.2 million tons of urea (all government cargoes) arrived at Gwadar Port. Consequently there was a lot of transport movement, but no benefit accrued towards the development of the port of Gwadar, and nothing tangible was initiated, no basic infrastructure was developed and the port remained in its primitive state.

Now / today Gwadar is a success story under the auspices of China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC). The very basic infrastructure has been put in place, thus paving the way for upcoming projects and also enhancing the facilities to be put on fast track.

It is indeed a very historic and happy occasion for all of us that the first COSCO weekly liner service vessel Ms Tiger has arrived today on her inaugural voyage here at Gwadar port.

Mark my words that 7th March, 2018 is a historic day.

I am sure that most of you are aware that FPCCI with COPHC has been working for sometime to ensure commencement of regular cargo shipments at Gwadar Port so that we can send a message to the world community that Gwadar Port is fully operational and fully functional.

Islamabad and Beijing see Gwadar as a “FUTURE JEWEL” in the Pakistan and

China CPEC flagship of China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative to build a new silk road of land and maritime trade routes across Asia and beyond. We are positive that Inshallah Gwadar port will very soon be a major transshipment hub and a mega port.

We have been assured by China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) that they will be providing special rates / benefits & services not only for all cargoes but also special benefits for Afghan Transit cargoes.

Therefore apart from other cargoes, the first priority is now to immediately attract Afghan Transit cargoes at Gwadar Port and also to promote transit of Fertilizer for Afghanistan via Gwadar Port.

By getting concessions / benefits for Afghan Transit cargoes from China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC), FPCCI / COPHC will also be acting as a bridge for better relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I congratulate the Chief Minister of Balochistan, Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo who has made a very wise decision by appointing Mr. Hussain Islam as advisor on GDA and BCDA with the status of provincial minister. Mr. Hussain Islam belongs to the shipping sector and I am also from the shipping sector. I am confident that he will put in all his efforts to ensure exemplary development of Gwadar port as a progressive modern port.

Pakistan is presently exporting wheat in bulk and more than 1 million tons will be exported from Punjab. Therefore congestion at both Karachi Port and Port Qasim is expected. We at FPCCI feel that this is an opportune time to divert some ships to Gwadar for loading of Wheat export cargoes.

I have discussed this matter with Mr. Hussain Islam (the Advisor to the Chief Minister) and he in turn discussed with the Chief Minister Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddus Bizenjo to consider a subsidy for the extra transport costs. In fact we have received confirmation last night that the Chief Minister has agreed to our request.

We hope that COPHC can capitalize on this unprecedented initiative by the Chief Minister.

If we work intelligently / plan properly now / today, we can coordinate import of rock phosphate, seeds and scrap in ship loads to Gwadar. These import cargoes are also destined for Punjab.

Therefore transport can move both ways i.e. with export wheat cargo from Punjab to Gwadar and import cargo of rock phosphate, seeds and scrap etc. to Punjab which will hopefully result in bringing down the extra transport costs.

The Chief Minister of Balochistan Mir Abdul Quddos Bizenjo has also offered free of cost office space to FPCCI at Gwadar. FPCCI has gladly accepted this offer of the Chief Minister.

Shifting of some cargoes from Karachi Port and Port Bin Qasim to Gwadar Port will also help in reducing congestion at those ports.

We shall very soon have a press conference and a “MOU” signing ceremony with the government of Balochistan.

FPCCI highly appreciates the initiatives and giant steps that the Chief Minister is taking in the right direction.

Furthermore two major cement manufacturers namely DG Khan Cement and Attock Cement who are located at hub district of Balochistan have already expanded their production capacities by a total of about 3.75 million tons and It would be convenient and economical for these cement industries to export cement and clinker in bulk and bag condition from Gwadar Port. Consequently this would also generate two way transport movement from & to Gwadar which would help in reducing the cost of transportation.

It is also pertinent to mention here that Gwadar has great potential for the development of Tourism because of its azure water and attractive white sandy beaches, temperate climate and friendly people. Plus as you all know Gwadar is free of crime. During winter cruise ships from Europe move towards the gulf region mostly to UAE ports on a seven day cruise, Hence Gwadar should be developed to provide an alternate destination which would boost the tourism industry. FPCCI in cooperation with COPHC is already making efforts to attract cruise ships to Gwadar and Inshallah we shall have some good news for you very soon.

COPHC has also assured FPCCI of their continued support for the LOCALS of Gwadar.

I would also like to mention here that the efforts put in to organize Gwadar Expo 2018 during January was a great success in projecting the benefits to be achieved for the investors at Gwadar.

FPCCI members are keen to invest and setup projects at Gwadar.

In fact only yesterday I received a call from Mr. Rasheed Jan Mohammad of West bury Group (they are one of our most important members) to remind me that their proposal to setup a edible oil refinery with a dedicated jetty is pending with GPA.

I would like to take this opportunity to also request the customs authorities to expedite required permission / infrastructure for commencement of WeBOC i.e. I.T. related issues at Gwadar Port.

I would like to reaffirm our stance i.e. FPCCI is continuously striving to act not only as a bridge between the business community and the government but also between nations.

It is in this context that FPCCI is signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with COPHC today.

We hope that this will further cement our close and brotherly relationship.

In ending I would like to specially mention here that in a very short span of time Mr. Zhang Baozhong has become a good friend. I wish him the very best of success.

CPEC will improve tourism services in the country

ISLAMABAD: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will improve the quality of tourism services between the two countries with lasting impacts on socio-economic development, said Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) Managing Director Abdul Ghafoor.

Talking to the media, he said that this would improve the services of public information, provide convenience in transportation, security protection and other services benefiting the public.

He said it would strengthen social and economic development cooperation between Pakistan and China. Ghafoor urged that efforts should be made to carry out vocational training in Pakistan and to rely on higher education resources in Pakistan.

Tourism is one of the important sectors for the growth of the country’s economy. He said that in 2017, the tourism industry continued to make a real difference to the lives of millions of people by driving growth, creating jobs, reducing poverty and fostering development and tolerance.

The tourism industry has contributed $7.6 trillion to the global economy, which is 10.2% of the global GDP and generated 292 million jobs in 2016, the PTDC MD remarked.

He expressed hope that with the start of CPEC, tourism within the country would increase in the years ahead making it a very attractive hub for investments in the tourism and hotel business.

He said that local demand for traveling within Pakistan was increasing every year, with an expected number of over 50 million domestic tourists forecast by the PTDC, which shows a lot of potential in the industry.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 5th, 2018.

Desalination plant opens at Gwadar port

QUETTA: Federal Minister for Ports and Shipping Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo inaugurated a desalination plant on Monday installed at the Gwadar port by China Overseas Port Holding Company for supplying drinking water to the people in the port city.

The desalination plant has a production capacity of 254,000 gallons of clean drinking water.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Senator Bezenjo, who is also president of the National Party, said that the New Year will witness massive development in Gwadar under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said that the desalination plant would reduce the shortage of drinking water in the port city to some extent. He said that the people of Gwadar had been facing water shortage for the past many months and they would now get clean drinking water through tankers.

“The desalination plant is a true reflection of CPEC and friendship between Pakistan and China. It is a gift for the people of Gwadar,” Mir Hasil Khan Bezenjo said.

The desalination plant is the result of the visionary thinking of Chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority Mir Dostain Khan Jamaldani and the Chairman of China Overseas Port Holding Company.

He expressed the hope that the water crisis of Gwadar will be resolved this year and more such plants were in the pipeline.

He said that the water supply from the Gwadar port would be cheaper than the water provided from the Mirani Dam in Turbat.

The minister later inspected the plant, where Chinese officials briefed him about the plant’s capacity.

Earlier, he was received at the airport by officials of the port authority and local administration.