Chinese experts and investors would hold a meeting with provincial governments today (Tuesday) to look out for new trade avenues and explore investment opportunities in special economic zones (SEZs) in all four provinces of the country. According to the sources, the provinces after finalizing the names of identified locations of industrial zones, have completed their feasibility study and submitted it to the federal government.
The sources said the Prime Minister had directed the relevant authorities to provide facilities like gas, electricity, water and others to the industrial zones.
The representatives of the provinces and Chinese delegation headed by China International Engineering Consultant Corporation (CIECC) Du Zhenli would discuss industrial zones. The Chinese delegation would give detailed briefing on the successful models of economic zones in China, besides sharing their expertise with representatives of provincial government officials. The meeting would review and negotiate on future investment opportunities in Pakistan.
The delegation of Chinese experts has held workshops and meeting in Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad and Islamabad. Board of Investment (BoI) has organized the workshops in various cities of the country. The Chinese delegation also visited industrial zones which are under construction in Punjab, Sindh, Rawalpindi and Gwadar Port Industry Zone in Balochistan.
The industry zones would be developed over an area of 1,000 acres having strategic importance of being close of seaport and airport as well as having road and rail networks. The visit of Chinese experts is significant as they would determine the potential of areas for becoming SEZs and priority special economic zone (PSEZ). Chinese are investing US $62 billion in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, especially in infrastructure and power sectors.
The sources said that BoI had been entrusted to organise meetings with Chinese experts on industrial cooperation. As per programme devised by BoI in consultation with Chinese side, the focus of industrial cooperation group is on the nine prioritized special economic zones agreed upon in the last JCC held in Beijing in December 2016. They said the next meeting of JCC would be held in November 2017.
China has already developed 77 industrial parks in 36 countries so Chinese development model and other best practices of the world can help Pakistan develop special economic zones. Pakistan has planned to establish nearly 29 industrial parks and 21 mineral processing zones in all four provinces under the CPEC project, out of them 27 are granted the status of Special Economic Zones and Mineral Processing Zones.
Whereas for industrial zones, Quetta, Dostan, Gwadar, Khuzdar, Uthal, Hub and Dera Murad Jamali are identified, for the proposed Minerals Economic Processing Zones areas like Khuzdar (chromite, antimony), Chaghi (chromite), Qila Saifullah (antimony, chromite) Saindak (gold, silver), Reko Diq (gold), Kalat (iron ore), Lasbela (manganese), Gwadar (oil refinery), and Muslim Bagh (chromite) are included in the list.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2017