ISLAMABAD: Board of Investment (BoI) Secretary Fareena Mazhar stated that the BOI, as the convenor of the Joint Working Group (JWG) on Industrial Cooperation under the CPEC, has undertaken rigorous efforts to facilitate the signing of an MoU between Karachi Port Trust (KPT) and China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) on Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone (KCCDZ) project.
Consensus was reached to make the KCCDZ project a part of the CPEC framework during the fifth meeting of the JWG on Industrial Cooperation held on 15th December 2020.
The MoU will pave way for resolution of infrastructure issues plaguing the city of Karachi, besides fostering maritime development, and providing job opportunities through generation of sustainable economic activity based on transfer of technology to the country’s maritime industry.
The meeting was co-convened by the BoI and the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) of China.
She expressed these views during the much-awaited 10th meeting of the apex Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC held here in Islamabad on 23rd September 2021, wherein, it was also mutually agreed by the Pakistani and Chinese sides that the Draft Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation under the CPEC will be finalised and signed before the next JCC meeting.
The said Framework Agreement was initiated by the BOI and, it was shared with the Chinese side after fulfilling all codal formalities in November 2020.
The Draft Framework Agreement emphasises on Business-to-Business (B2B) and people-to-people collaborations to successfully accomplish the envisaged goals during the second phase of the CPEC.
As CPEC Industrial Cooperation requires active participation of private sectors from both sides, the secretary BOI stressed on the pressing need for the establishment of an effective communication mechanism to ensure regular interactions and exchange of ideas with the NDRC.
She underscored the significance of periodic deliberations to explore new avenues of enhanced bilateral cooperation, which would also play a key role in mobilising the engagement of the private sector enterprises.
Furthermore, during the 10th JCC meeting, the Chinese side apprised that efforts are being undertaken by the NDRC and pertinent Chinese institutions to expedite the finalisation of the Framework Agreement, as it will further cement the industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan during the 2nd phase of the CPEC.
Moreover, progress update of Dhabeji SEZ, Sindh, Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), Punjab, and Bostan SEZ, Balochistan was also discussed.
Whereby, the BOI Secretary informed that the BOI has sped up provision of utilities to the SEZs and both the AIIC and Boston SEZs are open for sale of plot to potential investors.
Both sides also discussed the progress made in the development of the CPEC SEZs, especially the Rashakai SEZ in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, which was recently launched in May 2021, while the signing ceremony of the Development Agreement of the Rashakai SEZ was coordinated by the BoI in September 2020.
The Secretary BOI further stated that the BoI is working diligently to improve the business environment in the country with special emphasis on industrial relocation from China, envisaging to boost the investors’ confidence that will also pave way for third country participation under the CPEC.
The BoI has also established a Pakistan China B2B Investment Portal in collaboration with the China Council for International Investment Promotion (CCIIP) to bring together Pakistani and Chinese businesses for potential joint ventures in the country. She welcomed export-oriented Chinese companies to form JV partnerships in Pakistan and contribute to further strengthening bilateral investment cooperation.
Mazhar further informed that an MoU on industrial cooperation was signed between Pakistan and China in 2018, and based on this MoU, the BoI facilitated the Chinese side to take up the initiative of industrial diagnosis for the purpose of sharing technical and managerial know-how.
In this regard a textile industrial diagnosis was carried out by Chinese experts in 2019 and its report was well received by relevant stakeholders from both sides in the textile sector.
The BoI and the NDRC agreed to resume industrial diagnosis of other priority sectors of the economy through a mutually agreed action plan.