Zardari offers China access to warm waters
* President wants to emulate China’s agricultural progress in Pakistan * China and Pakistan sign five MoUs on agriculture, trade
WUHAN: President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday expressed his desire to strengthen the already warm ties between China and Pakistan and offered China access to its ports.
In a press conference with Chinese television and radio channels and newspapers, the president said some of the companies located in central China would find it more convenient to trade through Pakistani ports that are nearer to them than their own.
“My party and my government want to strengthen the ties [between China and Pakistan] ... and we are proud of China’s progress,” he said. “I wish one million Chinese were in Pakistan and one million Pakistanis were in China and take this relationship to another level.”
In his address to China-Pakistan Agriculture and Water Resources Cooperation Forum, Zardari said Pakistan wanted to benefit from Chinese experience and technology in agriculture to overcome grain shortage in Pakistan.
“I am very impressed with China’s development in the agricultural sector and we want to emulate the same success in Pakistan,” the president said. Chinese agriculture experts briefed the president on their research to develop hybrid seeds of cotton, rice and rapeseed. They said the varieties they had developed were high yielding and ripened in less time.
The president also met Hubei Governor Lihong Zhong on Saturday at the picturesque East Lake Hotel and discussed avenues of cooperation in agriculture and hydroelectricity. The two leaders attended a ceremony in which Pakistan and China inked four memorandums of understanding (MoUs) for cooperation in the agriculture sector.
An MoU between the government of Sindh and Hubei Seed Group calls for transfer of technology to enable joint development of high-yield hybrid rice seeds and their commercial production in Pakistan.
Another MoU between Pakistan Agriculture and Research Council and Hubei Research Group says Pakistani scientists will be trained in breeding agronomy and high-yield oil seed production.
President Zardari also visited Fibrehome, China’s largest optic fibre company, on Saturday and was briefed on the company’s operations.
Later, Pakistan and China signed an MoU to invite Chinese investment in Pakistan’s services sector. “The agreement will enhance the capacity of services providers in the two countries and create new jobs in various sectors including information technology,” an official statement said, adding: “The agreement also envisages development of efficient services infrastructure and will ensure transfer of technology in all sectors.”
According to the deal, China will give more market access in the services sector to Pakistan than any other member of the World Trade Organisation. Chinese State Councillor Dai Bingguo also called on Zardari on Saturday and discussed bilateral relations.
The two leaders agreed that Pakistan-China trans-border economic zones and rail links would strengthen the ties between the two countries. The state councillor also hosted a dinner for Zardari. app