Pakistan targets $1b of export to China through land route: Commercial counselor

BEIJING-After successful transportation of seafood cargo container to Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region through Karakoram highway, Pakistan will be targeting $1 billion of trade with China through land route in coming years, Commercial Counselor, Embassy of Pakistan, Ghulam Qadir said on Saturday.
“It is very heartening that export of food items especially seafood from Pakistan to China has started through land route. This is a big success and we want to build on it to increase our export,” he told APP in an interview. “He informed that the Pakistani side is targeting that $ 1billion worth of trade should happen in the long-run through land route.
“However, keeping in view the current situation, we hope that this year, we have millions of dollars export and trade from this route in coming fiscal year,” he added. While commenting on export of seafood from Pakistan to China through land route, a spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry welcomed quality agricultural products from Pakistan to enter its market and said that the Chinese side stands ready to continue to work with Pakistan to boost bilateral trade through land transportation.
“As all-weather strategic cooperative partners, China and Pakistan have engaged in close cooperation in trade and other fields,” he added. “Pakistan’s first-ever seafood cargo container has recently arrived in Kashgar city of Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region through Karakoram Highway. This is the first time that seafood containers from Pakistan have been transported by road from Karachi to Kashgar city along the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
“We welcome quality agricultural products from Pakistan to enter China’s market and stand ready to continue to work with Pakistan to boost our trade through land transportation, achieve sustainable growth, bilateral trade and deliver more benefits to our two peoples,” the Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson added. Pakistan Ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque has also expressed satisfaction over the development and informed that the Pakistani and Chinese governments are making joint efforts to bring more Pakistani seafood and agriculture products through Karakoram Highway to the Chinese market. “We are working together to bring more Pakistani seafood and agricultural products through this land route to the Chinese market,” he said. As the world’s second largest consumer market, China embraces more high-quality Pakistani products exported to China. Ambassador Haque said that facilitating trade and exports of Pakistan’s high-quality products through Khunjerab border is Pakistan-China shared objective.
A representative from the Pakistani transport company said that it is the first attempt at bilateral cross-border road transport business in partnership with a Chinese firm. He noted that the shipment cost by truck is far below that of air transport, and has simpler customs clearance procedures. In addition, shipment by road shortens transport time to eight days, which is suitable for small-scale and point-to-point logistics, while the sea transport from Karachi Port to Yangshan Port in Shanghai takes nearly a month. The Khunjerab pass, a major land route on the China-Pakistan border was officially reopened for passengers and goods in first week of April this year after a closure of three years following the Covid-19 restrictions. At present, in wake of cold weather and lack of oxygen in the high altitude, Khunjerab pass generally opens from April 1 to November 30 every year, and remains closed from December 1 to March 31 of the following year.
However, the Pakistani and Chinese side are now working to keep the border crossing open for 12 months making it an all-weather facility.
As per officials, the reopening of border between Pakistan and China is expected to witness huge growth of cross-border trade and transportation this year.
The export of cherry from Gilgit-Baltistan area has been allowed to China and this will open up a market of up to $ 2 billion. Similarly, sesame seed export to China has also increased.
The textiles, rice, cherry, mangoes and other food items could be exported to China which would help achieve target of one billion dollars of export to China.
According to official data, the import and export cargo volume at the Khunjerab pass topped 200,000 tonnes from 2016 to 2020.

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