"Not only state-owned enterprises, but also private companies should be encouraged to invest and do business in Pakistan," said Sha Zukang, President of the China-Pakistan Friendship Association at an investment roadshow event held in Beijing on April 17.
A delegation from northwest Pakistan's Khyber Pukhtunkhwa Province (KP Province), led by Chief Minister Pervez Khattak and comprising both public sector officials and private sector representatives, paid a visit to Beijing on April 17-18 for an economic cooperation roadshow organized by the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing. The delegation and representatives from around 400 Chinese companies participated in the two-day event, during which a total of 86 projects from 13 sectors in KP Province were opened to tender from Chinese companies.
In his speech at the roadshow, Sha said that the "China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is regarded as a strategic development plan by both sides. It is a significant example in the Belt and Road Initiative."
The veteran Chinese diplomat stressed that "CPEC is not a narrow corridor, but a broad concept including economic cooperation, culture and people-to-people exchanges."
"Since the CPEC was initiated, many Chinese enterprises have set foot in Pakistan to work in cooperation with Pakistanis. But, most of them are state-owned enterprises. There are numerous vibrant private companies in China, which are also interested in investing in Pakistan," Sha said.
Private companies will play an important role in building comprehensive economic ties with Pakistan, Sha noted.
Masood Khalid, Ambassador of Pakistan to China, said in his speech that "KP Province has great potential for collaboration with Chinese companies."
The ambassador highlighted that the visit of the chief minister and the roadshow would help showcase the economic potential of the province in multiple sectors. He further said that the chief minister's visit demonstrates the unity and consensus on CPEC amongst all provinces of Pakistan.
The ambassador added that "CPEC is the manifestation of our leadership's vision of unlocking our mutually beneficial potential for peace and prosperity, not only for our two countries, but also for the entire region."
"The CPEC gives an excellent opportunity for Pakistan to integrate with the region and become a bridge of manufacturing and economic development as well as an international trade port," he said.
Pervez Khattak, Chief Minister of the KP Province extended an invitation to Chinese investors at the roadshow.
The chief minister said his visit will further help in laying a solid foundation for a durable relationship between the two countries. He also highlighted the incentives being provided to potential investors and underscored the improved security situation in the country.
Located along the CPEC route, KP Province expects more Chinese companies to tap its markets and promote local development, Khattak said.
During the event, 11 MoU related to different sectors were signed, demonstrating further implementation of the consensus on cooperation projects reached during the 6th China-Pakistan Joint Coordination Committee Meeting, which was held on December 29, 2016.
KP has the third largest provincial economy in Pakistan. The province is rich in natural resources.
Copyedited by Chris Surtees
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