C hi­nese firm to de­velop SEZ in Gwadar

SOE gets 43-year lease for 152 hectares of land in Pak­istani port

China Daily (Canada) - - LIFE - By LYUCHANG lvchang@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China Over­seas Port Hold­ing Co Ltd, the State-owned com­pany which op­er­ates the Gwadar port in Pak­istan, has got per­mis­sion to set up a spe­cial eco­nomic zone spread over 152 hectares in the strate­gic deep-wa­ter sea­port.

The land will be leased to the Chi­nese com­pany for 43 years and the zone will have among other things a large ex­hi­bi­tion cen­ter for show­cas­ing Chi­nese and Pak­istani prod­ucts.

Gwadar, on the shores of the Ara­bian Sea in Pak­istan’s western prov­ince of Balochis­tan, has strate­gic im­por­tance in terms of its lo­ca­tion be­tween South and Cen­tralAsia and the Mid­dle East, sit­ting at the mouth of the Per­sian Gulf and close to sev­eral im­por­tant sea routes like the Straits of Hor­muz, through­which20per­cent of the global oil ship­ments pass.

As part of the agree­ment, the Chi­nese com­pany, based in Hong Kong, will be in full charge of Gwadar Port, the third-largest port in Pak­istan, the in­ter­na­tional air­port and a sea area man­age­ment com­pany in Gwadar, Pak­istani me­dia said.

China is ex­pected to in­vest $1.62 bil­lion in the Gwadar project, in­clud­ing con­struc­tion of an ex­press­way link­ing the har­bor and coast­line, a rail link, break­wa­ter and other nine projects ex­pected to be com­pleted in three to five years.

The Pak­istan port will be jointly built by port in­fra­struc­ture com­pa­nies Zhuhai Port Hold­ings Group Co Ltd and China Over­seas PortHold­ing.

The two Chi­nese com­pa­nies will also work to­gether on per­son­nel train­ing, route ex­plo­ration, goods sup­ply, lo­gis­tics ware­house con­struc­tion and an in­for­ma­tion plat­form.

Gwadar project is also the end of the China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor, which runs about 3,000 kilo­me­ters from Gwadar to the north­west­ern Chi­nese city of Kash­gar, a part of the an­cient SilkRoad­link­ing Eurasia and Africa.

Ex­perts said the land deal for the project will put eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries on the fast track and bol­sterChina’snew­trade ini­tia­tive — the Silk Road Eco­nomic Belt and the 21st Cen­tu­ryMar­itime Silk Road.

Wang Shida, an ex­pert on Afghanistan at the Bei­jing­based China In­sti­tute of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions, said China has al­ready in­vested more than $40 bil­lion for the de­vel­op­ment of China-Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor and Gwadar Port will play an­i­m­por­tant role in the eco­nomic pros­per­ity of both na­tions.

“I think it will pro­vide win­win ben­e­fits for both sides. The Pak­istani econ­omy will gain from the large num­ber of pro­cess­ing firms that will move to the Gwadar port. It will also boost ex­ports from Pak­istan. As for China, it will gain from cheaper oil im­ports from the Mid­dle East and op­por­tu­ni­ties for Chi­nese com­pa­nies to go global,” he said.

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