China and Pakistan sign a memorandum of understanding on industrial cooperation in Beijing on December 20 (COURTESY PHOTO)
The 8th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was held in Beijing on December 20.
It was co-chaired by Ning Jizhe, Vice Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China, and Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms of Pakistan.
At the meeting, Bakhtyar reiterated Pakistan’s firm commitment to CPEC which he termed as the heart and soul of Pakistan-China economic cooperation.
Acknowledging the progress made in CPEC, the Pakistani minister said, “The stage is now set to take it to the next level wherein the cooperation can be diversified to more trade and industrial cooperation, socio-economic development, agriculture, people-to-people interaction and the sharing of knowledge under the clear vision set by our leadership.”
In his remarks, Ning said that CPEC serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and their peoples. Calling the visit by Prime Minister Imran Khan to China a “phenomenal success,” he expressed confidence that the China- Pakistan relationship would continue to grow and prosper.
Highlights of the JCC included the conclusion of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on industrial cooperation and the establishment of a cooperation framework on socioeconomic development. The industrial cooperation MoU will include cooperation in diverse industries such as textiles, petrochemicals, iron and steel, and mines and minerals. Bakhtyar said that cooperation in the industrial sector will help attract investment in special economic zones (SEZs) and encourage the relocation of Chinese industries.
Both sides agreed to cooperate to accelerate the development of SEZs. In the next phase of CPEC, they also agreed to cooperate in the maritime sector, port development and the automobile sector. In addition, the two sides discussed promoting joint ventures and industrial relocation from China to harness Pakistan’s export potential.
The first meeting of the recently established Joint Working Group on Socioeconomic Cooperation was held and it discussed a detailed action plan in six areas for future cooperation, namely, education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, skill development, healthcare, water supply and vocational training projects. The two sides agreed on poverty alleviation demonstration projects in all regions of Pakistan, and the first meeting of the Joint Working Group on Agriculture will take place early in 2019.
While undertaking a review of areas of cooperation under CPEC, both countries expressed satisfaction and showed willingness to expedite work on all projects including the Gwadar Port. Minister Bakhtyar said that the port is the jewel of CPEC and with the development of its auxiliary projects; it is poised to become the next big economic and transshipment hub in the region.
Copyedited by Rebeca Toledo
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