The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is more than just an investment of $47 billion. Not only will it boost Pakistan’s current situation, however as part of the larger Chinese vision of the Great Silk Road Economic Belt that spreads through Asia through the Middle East and connects to Europe, it aims to improve the lives of nearly three billion people in the region.
In the post-COVID-19 scenario, the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will become the center for regional trade and connectivity through combined action and cooperation by both countries, and will deepen people-to-people exchanges at a wider level, local media said. The meeting between Foreign Secretary Sohail Mahmood and CPEC Chairman Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa reaffirmed and commented over this. The Secretary for Foreign Affairs said that the CPEC was a transformative project and that there was full national agreement that the CPEC would be indispensable to Pakistan’s national development efforts.
“Pakistan and China are firmly determined to complete CPEC projects in a timely manner and making it a high quality BRI [Belt and Road Initiative] demonstration project,” he said. Reviewing the success of CPEC initiatives, the Secretary for Foreign Affairs maintained that CPEC’s energy and infrastructure projects have generated thousands of jobs and improved industrial development and productivity. It testified to the fact that the role of CPEC to strengthening the economic landscape of Pakistan has been real and significant, he stressed.
The foreign secretary underlined that Pakistan’s priority in the next step of CPEC was on industrialization and socio-economic development, areas that will generate vast job and growth opportunities for the common people. Out of the nine CPEC Special Economic Zones (SEZs), three were prioritized, namely Rashakai, Dhabeji and Alama Iqbal, and Pakistan will welcome foreign direct investment in those ventures. Lt Gen (r) Bajwa stressed that the CPEC Authority was committed to ensuring the completion of CPEC projects on time. He hoped that the 10th JCC would create more economic opportunities and lead to the further expansion of CPEC ventures, likely to take place in the near future. He reaffirmed that Pakistan would welcome the transfer of China’s industry and would institute a regime in that regard that could facilitate the inflow of Chinese investment into Pakistan.
The Secretary for Foreign Affairs stressed that the government was especially focused on reinforcing the agricultural cooperation between Pakistan and China. In that regard, a plan of action was already under consideration between the two governments, outlining the contours of this partnership. The Foreign Secretary hoped that the plan of action would be implemented expeditiously.