ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Monday that industrial progress and exports are essential to the progress and prosperity of a country.
Addressing the launching ceremony of the Pakistan-Chinese Investment Forum as the guest of honor, the premier said the process of wealth creation was impossible without industrial development, just as increased exports complemented these efforts.
The body is formed in conjunction with the Board of Investment (BoI) and the All Pakistan Chinese Business Association (APCEA) with the aim of promoting Chinese business investment in Pakistan and enhancing business-to-business industrial cooperation.
The Prime Minister observed that during the 1960s Pakistan was moving towards industrialization, but the nationalization of industries in the early 1970s stifled the economy.
He said that different small countries around the world have increased their export capacities. His government had provided incentives to the information technology sector and within two years their exports had doubled in volume, Khan said.
Referring to the successes of China and Turkey, the Prime Minister observed that they had made progress in improving their industrial and export capacities. Turkey has overcome its trade deficit through increased exports and in doing so has also increased its GDP which now stands at $ 720 billion, he said.
Khan said that in Pakistan the emphasis on industrialization had never been a priority in the past. The establishment of the body would facilitate trade between Chinese and Pakistani companies, he said.
Calling the launch of the forum a special occasion, Khan said it would help the government get feedback on investment and trade issues and overcome bottlenecks through incentives.
He further observed that the investment process took time which was invaluable for an investor.
The Prime Minister assured that the government and the BoI are doing everything to remove the blockages in this process and further facilitate Chinese investment.
The ceremony was attended by ministers, advisers, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong and representatives of Chinese and Pakistani companies.
The prime minister said the government had taken concrete steps to stabilize the country’s economy before Covid-19 hit the world.
Khan also praised the efforts of the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) for its efforts to contain the crisis. “Pakistan has faced the coronavirus [well], while our neighboring countries, including India and Iran, have been hit hard. the Economist magazine in his report ranked Pakistan among the nations which have not only saved its population but also the economy from the impacts of Covid-19 ”, he recalled.
The Prime Minister said this was another big success for his government for which he deserved all the credit. It was effective governance that helped Pakistan emerge from the challenge, he added.
He said the government should take measures to control imports. He also saw the practice of money laundering as another challenge for developing countries.
Referring to the UN investigation report, he said about $ 1 trillion has been laundered in poor countries.
He said he was confident that in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the two governments would focus on the agricultural sector.
He also stressed that they should learn urban planning techniques from China. He said rapid urbanization has led to two issues regarding food security and environmental pollution, citing examples of cities in Islamabad and Lahore where the population has been explosive.
He said they should focus on the vertical development of mega-cities and learn and seek the expertise of China which has saved its cultivable land with remarkable town planning.
The Prime Minister, on this occasion, officially launched the forum and attended the document exchange ceremony between the concerned authorities of the two countries.
Ambassador Rong said the CPEC would be a game-changer for Pakistan, bringing unprecedented progress and prosperity to the country.
The second phase of the CPEC would focus on industrial and social cooperation. Through this forum, both Pakistani and Chinese companies could strengthen their cooperation and ties.
The ambassador said that economic trade between the two countries has seen an increase of 61% over the past year, while China’s direct investment in Pakistan has also increased year on year.
He said that various development projects under the CPEC were underway, including special economic zones and Gwadar free zone. The ambassador said that China is working closely with Pakistan to achieve common goals to establish future cooperation.
Speaking on the occasion, the BoI President and his deputy secretary said the forum would go a long way in cementing joint ventures and bilateral industrial cooperation and provide an environment conducive to local and foreign investment.
They indicated that concerted efforts have been made by the government to promote these bilateral relations.