Upcoming CPEC infrastructure projects likely to attract US $28 billion Chinese investment: PM’s aide on CPEC
KARACHI, January 15: Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Special Assistant on CPEC, Khalid Mansoor, said on Friday afternoon that the upcoming CPEC infrastructure projects are likely to attract US $28 billion Chinese investment.
Speaking to journalists here, Mansoor informed that a total of US $ 25 billion had already been invested under the CPEC by China, while another US $ 28 billion were expected under the upcoming projects.
“The timeline for the execution of the CPEC phases spanned from 2015 to 2030, with many projects providing benefits over a much longer period,” he added.
He reminded that Pakistan turned to China for help to solve the energy crisis, so that “we should be able to address the ever-declining economy of Pakistan, as there was no power in the country.”
“At the same time, China was looking to achieve its age-old dream of a silk route for trade and transportation. The main objective of China from CPEC is bilateral and regional connectivity, as the main trade of China is from the eastern route where it confronts choke points and congestions,” Mansoor elaborated.
Through CPEC, he explained, Beijing wants to develop the western part of China and also create an alternate trade route, which will start from Kashghar of Xinjiang, through Pakistan all the way to Gwadar. “And once you get there, then you are connected to the rest of the region,” he maintained.
He underscored that in the first phase of CPEC, energy goals achieved so far included “power plants worth 5,300MW which are up and running, the 880km Matiari-Lahore transmission line, a further 3,500MW to be implemented within the next 6 to 8 months, additional 4,000MW which is under the planning stage, while focusing on renewable energy.”
On the transportation front, he mentioned that 1,800km long Karakoram Highway and 820km optic fiber line has been laid, the International Gwadar airport is being developed which is around 26 percent complete, and the Main Line 1 railway line will be laid. “Apart from this, US $3.8 billion will be spent on Karachi Comprehensive Coastal Development Zone,” Mansoor stated.
On industrial cooperation between the two countries, he underlined that that nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) were being developed alongside a free zone in Gwadar.
“The current focus is on 4 SEZs, including Allama Iqbal Zone in Punjab, Rashakai in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), Dhabeji in Sindh and Boston in Baluchistan and the free zone in Gwadar,” the PM’s aide observed.
Within these SEZs, he stressed, “there is a strong presence of local and international investors. Other countries such as Germany and Netherlands too have invested in the project.”
Mansoor emphasized on the development of the textile sector, saying that the focus will be on Pakistan’s export market whereby its textile sector is set to reap foremost benefits, adding that Pakistan’s textile exports have an under 2 per cent share globally and planning is being undertaken to increase this by improving value added products.
He noted that the China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement-II was finalised in January 2020 with a total of 313 items selected for exports and 3,394 tariff lines were already zero rated under phase I, whereas another 2,471 tariff lines will become zero rated in the next 3 to 8 years.
Mansoor pointed to the importance of Gwadar city, saying that the key component of CPEC was the development of Gwadar city, port and free zone. Ten companies are already operating in the free zone despite limited water and electricity, he apprised.
“An area near Gwadar has been selected for cotton cultivation as its soil is ideal for the same. Pakistan is currently importing 50 percent of the yarn it uses for textile exports and this may be replaced,” he observed.