ISLAMABAD - President Asif Ali Zardari Saturday urged for translating the strong and time-tested relations between Pakistan and China into a solid economic and commercial force to the mutual benefit of the people of the two countries.
The President said this during two rounds of meetings including one-on-one meeting and Business Round Table with a high-powered delegation of the China Investment Corporation headed by its President Gao Xiqing.
He emphasised the need for expeditious implementation of the joint projects in various areas and invited the China Investment Corporation (CIC) to avail the enormous investment opportunities in Pakistan in the areas of energy, infrastructure development, mining, communication and agricultural.
The meeting was attended among others by Chaudhry Ahmad Mukhtar, minister for water & power, Ms. Farzana Raja, Federal minister and Chairperson BISP, M Salman Faruqui, Secretary General to the President, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, federal secretaries and other high officials. The delegation of CIC besides its President Gao Xiqing included among others Zhou Yuan, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO), Fan Kunsheng, President of CIC International (Hong Kong), Cao Yu, Managing Director, Lu Jinuo, Vice President, Xu Di, Managing Director, Li Xinxin, Director and Liu Jian, Chinese ambassador in Pakistan.
Briefing about the meetings, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar said that President expressed hope that the various presentations given on investment regime and the interaction of the delegation with businessmen during its stay in Pakistan would have exposed them to the tremendous investment opportunities in diverse fields on one hand and would help promote bilateral investment and trade cooperation between the two countries, on the other. The Spokesperson said that various ministries and authorities in past three days gave detailed presentations to the delegation on the investment opportunities in energy sector including oil and gas exploration, hydel, solar, coal and wind energy, infrstructure road and rail projects, Gwader Port Zulfikarabad and projects of mutual interest. The delegation of China Investment Corporation (CIC) headed by Gao Xiqing is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of the President Asif Ali Zardari to explore avenues for investment in various sectors of the economy in Pakistan.
The President appreciated China’s contribution in the infrastructure and industrial development projects including Karakoram Highway. Gwadar Port, Heavy Mechanical Complex and Chashma Nuclear Power Plant, Pak-China Friendship Centre and Sports Complex and said that Pak-China close ties are now being effectively transformed into a mutually beneficial economic relationship. While expressing satisfaction over the increased bilateral trade, the President remarked that there was still a great potential, which could be explored for further enhancing the trade volume.
During Interaction at the business round table meeting with CIC, the President while highlighting the investors friendly regime said that the Government has introduced various policy measures which are aimed at maximum facilitation of the local as well as foreign business communities. He said that besides our geo-strategic location to serve the huge markets of over 3 billion in our neighbourhood, the country was offering huge incentives to the business community in various fields. He recounted various incentives which were being offered to the businessmen including penning of all sectors of economy for investment, allowing 100% foreign equity, equal treatment to foreign and domestic investors allowing remittance of royalty, capital, profits and dividends and full legal protection to foreign investment.
He said that the promotion of public-private partnership patterns and encouraging joint ventures was another important feature of our economy, adding that that Public-Private partnership is being encouraged to stimulate private sector growth and investment.
The President said that recently a law had been enacted to protect the incentives offered to entrepreneur so that they could work without fear for their investment.
The President urged the Private sector to assume the role of a driving force in propelling economy and said that a vibrant private sector is important for achieving sustainable growth and attracting foreign and domestic investment. He assured that government would continue to provide a conducive economic environment and supporting infrastructure to facilitate private sector and promote Public private partnership.
The President invited Chinese investment in the Special Economic Zones, which the President said will have basic utilities and infrastructure of international standard, 10 years exemption on duty & taxes both to zone developers and enterprises. He expressed the hope that SEZ would lead to reduction in the cost of doing business and would play a pivotal role in the economic development of Pakistan as has been witnessed in case of China, Malaysia, Thailand and other states.
He said that under the new Special Economic Zones law all capital goods, machinery and equipment will be given one time exemption from customs duties.
Gao Xiqing said that the delegation of CIC have interacted with public and private sector in Pakistan during the last three days and have been impressed by the potential that Pakistan offers to investors. He thanked the people and government of Pakistan, the Private sector and government functionaries for being open to them and sharing various avenues for investment with them.
The Round table meeting was attended among others by Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Minister for Commerce Ch Ahmed Mukhtar, Minister for Water & Power, Farzana Raja, federal Minister and Chairperson BISP, Ghulam Ahmed Bilour, Minister for Railways, Sardar Latif Khan Khosa, Governor Punjab, Barrister Syed Masood Kausar, Governor, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malik Amad Khan, MoS for Foreign Affairs, Spokesperson to the President Senator Farhatullah Babar, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani,
Secretary, M/o Foreign Affairs, Mr. Munir Qureshi, Secretary, M/o Commerce, Sheikh Anjum Bashir, Secretary, BOI and Ambassador Masood Khalid, Ambassador designate to China. Leading businessmen and CEOs of several companies of the country were also present.
Chief executives officers and Managing directors of various Chinese companies operating in Pakistan were also present. The President later hosted dinner for the visiting Chinese delegation.