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Ahsan Iqbal proposes China-Pakistan business platform for joint production in economic zones

Dated : 18 April 2016

ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reform Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Friday proposed China-Pakistan business platform for joint production in economic zones under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He also proposed for working out a mechanism for training of Pakistani human resource in Shandong province to learn about setting up and management of economic zones in Pakistan.

The minister also proposed to establish linkages between universities in Shandong province and Pakistan for exchange of faculty and students as part of people-to-people contact and suggested for alignment of Pakistan exportable products with Chinese import needs to benefit the Pakistani manufacturers and increase trade volume with China.

He put forward these proposals in a meeting with Shandong Province of China Vice Governor Xia Gang, leading a high level delegation.

Ahsan Iqbal said that Shandong is most developed and industrialised province of China. There are enormous opportunities for Pakistan and Shandong province to collaborate in textile, energy, engineering and agro-based industry, he added.

He proposed that Shandong province could benefit at large from the lower cost labour in Pakistan, relocating its labour-intensive industries to make their products more competitive.

He said that human resource development is a critical area wherein Pakistan might seek assistance from Shandong province by utilising its trained human resource. The minister also called for cooperation in agriculture sector to increase agricultural products and products in Pakistan.

Ashan Iqbal stated that Pakistan could also benefit from Shandong experiences in soil and water conservation, which is critical to Pakistan. Talking about the provision of clean water, the minister urged that Pakistan and Shandong could also join hands to purify the drinking water in the rural areas of Pakistan.

He said that Pakistan needs export-led growth by re-orienting the production models, which could be done by learning from the experiences and expertise of Shandong province. He also proposed holding of business conferences in Pakistan and Shandong, attracting the businessmen from both sides to enhance business-to-business contacts by putting in place an institutional framework.
The minister said that Pakistan greatly values its friendship with China who came to invest in Pakistan at critical juncture of the country's history. "CPEC raised investment profile of Pakistan in the world by making it safe haven for billions of Chinese investment, he added.

He said that CPEC is fusion of visions of leadership of both countries and a win-win proposition for China and Pakistan, as it would provide China the safest and shortest land route to trade with the world and would help Pakistan to become regional trading and industrialised hub through enhanced economic integration.

Ahsan Iqbal hoped that visit of the vice governor would enhance the future cooperation and collaboration between Pakistan and Shandong to further strengthen the bilateral ties between China and Pakistan.

Shandong Vice Governor Xia Gang said that his province looks forward to work with Pakistan in various areas and assured to consider proposals of the Planning and Development minister for furthering the cooperation in economic field between Pakistan and Shandong.