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  • Oct 1st, 2015
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OLYMPIA (PRIVATE) LIMITED, one of the largest & highly reputed indenting and trading house in business since early 90's. Olympia (Private) Limited with its head office in Lahore - Pakistan is a known business entity with proven trust and success track in domestic and international markets. OLYMPIA is serving its clients with dedication, commitment and professional pride for almost three decades. OLYMPIA is known and trusted for its trust worthy, highly customised, remarkably professional, diverse and highly personalised services in business and public sector.

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The National Day of the People's Republic of China is majestically celebrated by Chinese people every year on October 1, the Memorial Day when Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central People's Government, officially declared the establishment of the People's Republic of China in presence of an enormous crowd in Tiananmen Square and upraised the initial national flag.

My heartiest wishes are with the people of the People's Republic of China on this propitious occasion. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an ongoing development megaproject which aims to connect Gwadar Port in southwestern Pakistan to China's north-western autonomous region of Xinjiang, via a network of highways, railways and pipelines which will be used for transportation of oil and gas. CPEC is considered crucial to Pak-China relations. It will run from Gwadar to Kashgar. CPEC is an extension of China's proposed 21st century Silk Road initiative. The entire project is expected to be operational within three years. According to sources it is the biggest extraneous investment by China publicized yet. CPEC will be a strategic game changer in the region, which would go a long way in making Pakistan a wealthier and sturdier entity than ever before.

CPEC will provide Pakistan with telecommunications and energy infrastructure other than transport infrastructure. It also aims to increase intelligence sharing between both countries. Pakistan & China hope the gigantic investment plan will renovate Pakistan into a regional economic hub as well as further boost the growing ties between them. It is said that the investment is a Fate Turner for the region as Chinese are not only offering to build much-needed infrastructure but also make Pakistan a key partner in its grand economic and strategic determinations. The project will also open trade routes for Western China and provide China direct access to the resource-rich Middle East region.

In April 2015 the President of China Xi Jinping visited. During his visit he wrote in an open editorial that "This will be my first trip to Pakistan, but I feel as if I am going to visit the home of my own brother." It is big statement for the people and government of Pakistan.

The two countries signed 20 more agreements in August 2015, as a further boost to the CPEC. A total of 51 memoranda of understanding were signed in diverse sectors between China and Pakistan during visit of Chinese president to Pakistan on 20 April 2015. It is worth to mention that Chinese President Xi Jinping dismissed the concerns of Indian Prime Minister, describing CPEC as a "commercial project."

It is to be noted that the project was first proposed in May 2013 by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang during his visit to Pakistan and by the end of August 2013 The Pak-China Economic Corridor Secretariat was inaugurated in Islamabad. Then, President Mamnoon Hussain visited China for further discussions in February 2014. In April 2014, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif met with Premier Li Kequiang in China to discuss further plans. Chinese government announced in November 2014 that it will finance Chinese companies to build energy and infrastructure projects in Pakistan as part of CPEC. These projects which will be completed by 2017 at most. It is said that under the CPEC agreement coal, nuclear and renewable energy projects of billions of worth will add more than 10,000 megawatts of energy to the national grid of Pakistan. Pakistan and China signed an agreement in April 2015 to commence work on this agreement, which is roughly 20% of Pakistan's annual GDP, with approximately $28 billion in immediate projects and the rest allocated for projects in the pipeline. The deal also includes a fibre optic cable project as well as major upgrades to Pakistan's transport infrastructure, including:

-- Karakorum Highway (Havelian in the Abbottabad District to Thakot)

-- Karachi-Lahore Motorway (Multan to Sukkur)

-- The Gwadar Port East Bay Expressway Project

-- Gwadar International Airport

-- Some cities have been made sister cities - Chengdu in Sichuan province and Lahore, and Zhuhai in Guangdong province and Gwadar.

The move represents a shift toward greater economic co-operation between Pakistan and China. The CORRIDOR would give China access to the Indian Ocean and lead to investments that would help ease power shortages that are encumbering economic growth in Pakistan.

It is stated that when the corridor is constructed, it will expand the number of trade routes between China, the Middle East and Africa. China is the world's biggest oil importer and oil pipelines through Pakistan would cut out ocean travel through Southeast Asia.

CPEC will connect economic agents along a defined geography and will provide connection between economic nodes or hubs, centered on urban landscapes, in which large amount of economic resources and actors are concentrated as they link the supply and demand sides of markets.

It is stated that the CPEC will serve as a driver for connectivity between South Asia and East Asia. It is also said that the CPEC will play a crucial role in regional integration of the 'Greater South Asia', which includes China, Iran, Afghanistan, and stretches all the way to Myanmar.

China plans to build oil storage facilities and a refinery at Gwadar Port, with oil transported to its Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region via road and pipeline. This will let it move energy and goods to inland China without going through the Strait of Malacca. The project will also lead to development in western China. Iran has also responded positively over the proposal to link the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline with China, with the Iranian ambassador to China describing it as a "common interest" between the three countries.

CPEC is considered economically vital to Pakistan in helping it drive economic growth. The project has been described as a "credit positive" for Pakistan. It is understood that the project's key benefits would not materialise until 2017, however it is believed that at least some of the benefits from the CPEC would likely begin accruing even before then.

CPEC first phase involves development at Gwadar Port and the construction of an international airport. It will be carried out by 2017, with Chinese companies expected to participate.

The Karakoram Highway connecting the two countries will also be widened, while the rail network between Karachi in southern Pakistan and Peshawar in the north will be upgraded. The two countries also plan a fiber-optic communications link between them.

In February 2013 a major boost was received by the project when control of Gwadar Port was transferred to China's state-owned China Overseas Ports Holding. Built by Chinese workers, Gwadar is undergoing a major expansion to turn it into a full-fledged deep-water commercial port. Both countries have signed agreements for constructing an international airport at Gwadar, upgrading a section of Karakorum Highway connecting to Islamabad and laying a fibre-optic cable from the Chinese border to the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. With the development of the corridor Central Asia, traditionally an economically closed region owing to its geography and lack of infrastructure, will have greater access to the sea and to the global trade network.

According to experts, the completion of Gwadar would make it the economic hub of Balochistan and create a strategic nexus between Pakistan, China and Central Asia, generating billions in revenue and providing shorter land routes. It would enable Gwadar to compete with Persian Gulf ports.

The world's largest solar power project will be undertaken at the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur. The project will be worth 900 megawatts on an investment by the Chinese company Zonergy Limited. A total of 51 memoranda of understanding were signed in diverse sectors between China and Pakistan during visit of Chinese president to Pakistan on 20 April 2015. It is worth to mention that Chinese President Xi Jinping dismissed the concerns of Indian Prime Minister, describing CPEC as a "commercial project."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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