China to undertake several projects in Pakistan in 2005
BEIJING: China will undertake several projects in Pakistan in 2005 to strengthen bilateral cooperation.
The projects will include an extension of the Gwadar deep seaport, the Thar Coal project, the Chashma nuclear power (Phase-II) and an extension of the Saindek gold and copper project.
The projects, worth millions of dollars, will facilitate cooperation and cultivate a “win-win” situation, as envisaged by both countries. “We are also expecting strengthened trade ties, since they have entered the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) and are expanding the preferential tariff list to support their businessmen,” official sources said. More than 40 Chinese companies are engaged in contracted or joint-venture projects in Pakistan, while an estimated 100 companies have business contacts with Pakistani companies. At present, Chinese investment in Pakistan stands at four billion dollars.
Highlighting China’s growing interest in Pakistan’s economic development, sources said both countries had signed seven agreements relating to trade, communication and energy respectively.
A framework relating to the utilisation of $500 million preferential buyers’ credit had also been agreed upon, sources said, adding under the accord, loans would be extended to Chinese companies for setting up projects in Pakistan.
The two countries also exchanged letters for utilising of $150 million for the Chashma-II project. During recent talks with his Chinese counterpart, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz suggested setting up a joint infrastructure development fund with equal contribution from both countries. The prime minister promised to set up a Chinese industrial zone in Pakistan to provide China with easier access to the African and Middle Eastern markets.
It was also agreed that China would send 100 students to Pakistan, while Pakistan would send 30 students to China. China attached considerable importance to Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan, the sources said, adding it would take place in either March or April. It was hoped the visit would strengthen bilateral cooperation, sources said, adding that Jiabao was expected to inaugurate the Thar Coal power project.
Meanwhile, Zhou Xie, Chinese commerce ministry official, said that China’s entry in the World Trade Organization (WTO) had opened new opportunities for improving Sino-Pak economic ties.
“In recent years, both countries have made considerable headway to develop economic relations. However, more can be done to benefit our respective societies,” he said.
“We welcome Pakistani businessmen to set up business outlets in the Chinese market,” Xie said, suggesting Pakistani companies should direct their reps in China to explore the possibility of undertaking joint ventures. app