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SPECIAL ECONOMIC ZONES (SEZs) AND INVESTMENT

A special economic zone (SEZ) is an industrialized area in a country that is subject to different economic regulations than other regions within the same country. The economic regulations of special economic zones (SEZs) tend to be conducive to and attract foreign direct investment (FDI).

In a press interview, Zhang Baozhong, the chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company (the firm that operates Gwadar Port) has said that the first phase of the special economic zone (SEZs) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been completed and in the final phase. 43 Chinese companies are going to invest while 200 more firms have been registered for the purpose to invest in the SEZs of Gwadar city.

Meanwhile, Baozhong also rejected the reports circulating in the media about hindrances and impedances in the multibillion-dollar project of CPEC, saying that work on CPEC is going on in full swing/pace and there are no impediments as the “government of Pakistan is extending full cooperation”. The Gwadar port has been completed and the incitement of arriving of cargo ships has already begun. Despite the thwarting Coronavirus pandemic, both nations have worked extraordinarily with mutual cooperation to complete the SEZs and operational port of Gwadar.

Gwadar Development Authority Director General Shahzeb Khan also announced projects worth Rs20 billion for the uplift of the people of Gwadar. “Efforts are afoot to turn Gwadar into a tax-free economic zone and a port city,” he said, adding that a one-window system is also being introduced to facilitate investors. He further told that they (China) were inviting the business community and tycoons to establish industries in Gwadar for the generation of revenue. “A 250-km road network has been laid in Gwadar,” Kakar said, adding that an industrial zone in Gwadar would comprise three divisions. “An education city and a diplomatic zone will also be established in the port city.”

Furthermore, Balochistan Department of Industry and Commerce Additional Secretary Manzoor Hussain said that the provincial government has formulated rules and policies for allotment of land in industrial zones in the province. “Land will now be allotted in industrial zones only to those industrialists who will set them up within the stipulated timeframe,” Hussain said, adding that work on development projects in Gwadar was underway under CPEC.

On the development of the port city, Gwadar Industrial Estate Development Authority Managing Director Attaullah Jogezai said that the provincial government will soon allocate 20,000 acres of land for the special economic zone.

The BRI flagship project of CPEC aims at improving the materialistic and non-materialistic life of people in both nations and the SEZs under the project envisages a major economic development in Pakistan.

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