Pakistan Parliamentary Committee asks govt to bring socio-economic development under CPEC

China Economic Net

Islamabad: Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has asked the government to bring projects relating to socio-economic development under the CPEC framework.
The Committee said there was a greater need to pursue holistic and pragmatic approach for such inclusion of the projects into the CPEC.

The Committee said it was necessary to use the money left out of one billion dollars grant on priority areas and in less developed regions to bring them into mainstream and ensure shared economic progress and prosperity.

The meeting of the Parliamentary Committee was held under the Chairmanship of Sher Ali Arbab Thursday afternoon – the second meeting in two days.

The Committee was briefed by Chairman Board of Investment, Secretary ministry of Commerce, Additional Secretary ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives and other officials.

The Chairman noted that the world was increasingly moving towards complex interdependence. Economy and trade should be our strategic instruments in these modern times.

He observed that at the heart of CPEC was trade and commerce. Pakistan’s economy will not flourish unless we increase our trade volume with other countries of the world especially with China with whom CPEC engagement is also moving forward.
He said Pakistan had to embrace value addition in exports rather than only relying on increasing production capacity.
In this regard, Commerce Ministry and all other concerned need to look into market areas of China where we could export our locally manufactured products to make Pakistan an attractive destination for Chinese imports.

Moreover, while signing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs) the concerned need to protect local industries from shrinking and encourage and incentivize the industries which have comparative advantage and
performing well in terms of paving the way for enhancing exports, he added.

Secretary ministry of Commerce informed the Committee that currently favorable business environment prevails between Pakistan and Afghanistan due to important role played by Parliamentary Friendship Groups between Pak-Afghan Parliaments.

The efforts, rendered by the Parliament of Pakistan, to plug mutual trust-deficit between Pakistan and Afghanistan were highly appreciated. Hon. Chairman remarked that Afghanistan is highly keen to do business with Pakistan. All the concerned have to ensure that problems lying on Pakistan’s side were resolved promptly so as to attract maximum investment from Afghanistan and the trade between two countries may further flourish.

In terms of Pakistan trade with China and Afghanistan, the Chairman directed Ministry of Commerce to provide strategy document regarding why our exports in certain goods have declined and in what products Pakistan has comparative advantage so that the list of the products could thoroughly be examined by the Committee and bottlenecks may be removed.

“This is how Pakistan can increase its exports and protect its local industries. We need to focus on trade facilitation rather than tariff rationalization,” he said.

The Chairman while highlighting the importance of Foreign Direct Investment noted that issues pertaining to the provision of facilities to foreign investors be resolved timely so that “we may move towards ease of doing business and make Pakistan an attractive destination for foreign direct investment.”

The meeting was attended by Noor Alam Khan, Umer Aslam Khan, Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali, Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak, Ghous Bux Khan Mahar, Ahsan Iqbal Chaudhry, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Zahid Akram Durrani and Senator Mir Kabir Ahmed Muhammad Shahi.