ISLAMABAD, July 19, 2023: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) emerged as the most successful and transformative project for his country, ushering in a new era of regional connectivity and economic prosperity, an official said.
“It was the transformative impact of CPEC that China became the top foreign direct investor in Pakistan within just three years of the project’s initiation in 2013,” Pakistan’s Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal said.
He made the remarks at a seminar titled “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor at Ten: A Gateway to Regional Connectivity,” organised by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute, a think tank.
The minister said China has become a key economic partner of Pakistan through implementing the multi-billion-dollar project.
Terming CPEC as a game changer for Pakistan and beyond, he said that the project has helped Pakistan in overcoming severe energy shortages by adding thousands of megawatts of electricity as well as establishing a vibrant road and rail infrastructure across the country.
He added that special economic zones (SEZs) and social welfare projects have also been implemented in the country, especially in the southwest Gwadar district, to boost socio-economic development.
Highlighting the role of the SEZs in enhancing trade, Iqbal said that China would provide Pakistan with technical know-how and expertise to increase exports and help the successful execution of the economic zones under the CPEC project.
“Pakistan wants Chinese assistance to increase its exports and in the successful execution of the SEZs,” the minister said.
He said that the second phase of CPEC is business-to-business cooperation, not government-to-government. “The country needs to move towards industrial cooperation now under CPEC.”
Pakistan needed export-oriented policies if it wanted to have sustainable economic growth, Iqbal said, stressing the importance of having surplus production of various items to increase the country’s exports.