CPEC, B2B cooperation highlighted as PM Shahbaz visits China
BEIJING, Nov 2 (Gwadar Pro) – “The 11th CPEC Joint Cooperative Committee (JJC) [has] reviewed and consolidated the recent progress [of CPEC]. We’re now on [the] course to inject fresh [elements] into our CPEC cooperation,” said Pakistani prime minister Shahbaz Sherif in the China-Pakistan Business Forum held on Wednesday (Nov 2) by the Pakistani Embassy in Beijing.
The forum is part of the activities for his China visit following his arrival in Beijing on Tuesday (Nov 1) night for a two-day official visit.
Addressing a group of more than 400 Chinese enterprises who participate in the conference online, the prime minister noted that he had very “productive” meetings this morning with the Chinese side, adding that “we would focus on the ML-1 project from Peshawar to Karachi” and the Karachi Circular Railway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Shahbaz also invited Chinese enterprises to invest in solar and other green energy, agriculture, IT and AI under CPEC. “Unlike other coal-based power projects under CPEC, the mechanism of a solar project will be different,” said the premier, because “there will be the sovereign guarantee, G2G (government-to-government) companies or G2G investments and the payments to investors remain and guarantee within 60 days, and without it going to [the] third party.”
In a recent interview with Chinese media, Shahbaz Sherif emphasised that the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has been a boon to the international community and that BRI and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have helped upgrade Pakistan’s infrastructure and energy structure, adding that BRI and CPEC are expected to play a bigger role in the region.
Before his departure for the state visit, Shahbaz said on Twitter that he will focus on revitalising CPEC during the visit and that the “2nd phase of CPEC promises to usher in a new era of socio-economic progress that will uplift the quality of our people's lives.”
In response to a question on the prime mister’s visit at a November 1st daily briefing, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that during Shahbaz’s visit, “the two sides will definitely sign a series of outcome documents.”
Enhanced B2B cooperation is also expected to be highlighted. In his speech at the first steering committee meeting of the Pakistan-China Business and Investment Forum (PCBIF) on October 31, the premier highlighted that he would hold “productive and fruitful meetings” with the Chinese leadership during his visit to enhance business and strategic relations, and that the government would create an enabling environment for bilateral business-to-business (B2B) relations.
For this purpose, PCBIF has inaugurated a business and investment website for Pakistani and Chinese enterprises and investors.
The prime minister headed a high-level delegation consisting of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique, Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and other officials.