China and Pakistan – Building bridges
Pakistan has been the rotating president of the 7th ChinaSouth Asia Business Forum (CSABF) held concurrently with the 5th South Asian Countries Trade Fair and the 20th Kunming Import and Export Fair, held from June 5 to 7, in Kunming in China. This year’s Business Forum was based on the theme “Building Bridges through Socio-Economic Cooperation”.
While delivering the keynote speech at the inaugural session of the Forum, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, Federal Minister for Commerce, hoped that Pakistan and China would further strengthen their trade and economic relationship as Pakistan is also looking for expansion in regional trade.
Makhdoom Amin Fahim stated that the 21st century is the Asian century. Pakistan and China have very close historical ties, therefore special focus is needed to enhance trade and investment between the two nations. The minister pointed out that Pakistan has a huge potential for foreign investment and attempts are being made to ensure maximum facilitation through supportive investment policies.The World Bank, he said, had ranked Pakistan No.1 overall, in South Asia in comparison to other countries including India, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh in “ease of doing business”. This higher ranking indicates better and stronger regulation for business and better protection of property rights and it also highlights Pakistan’s openness for trade and investment.
The inaugural session of the Business Forum, which was attended by top Chinese leadership of Yunnan province and dignitaries of South Asian countries, was moderated by Tariq Puri, Chief Executive TDAP. Puri stressed that Pakistan is playing a key role in bridging the gap and is strategically positioned to increase economic cooperation among the regional hubs and China.
Li Jiheng, Governor of Yunnan Province, along with the local leadership of the Communist Party called on Pakistan’s Minister of Commerce and briefed him about the Chinese government policies for economic development, especially in the Western region of China. They also apprised him of the fact that China gave great importance to increasing trade and investment among the regional countries and especially with the South Asian countries. Fahim stated that Pakistan offered investment opportunities especially in mineral, hydropower and renewable energy sectors. The Governor of Yunnan Province also hosted a dinner in honour of the Minister of Commerce and visiting Pakistani delegation.
Chairman/President of Yunnan Metallurgical Company; Yunnan Nanpian Electronic Information Company and Yunnan Coal Chemical Company also called on the minister and showed keen interest in investment in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector. The meeting was also attended by Consul General and Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan in Chengdu.
The CSABF was established to promote regional economic cooperation between Chinese and SAARC industrial and commercial circles in the context of everincreasing mutual trust in political and economic cooperation between China and the South Asian countries.
CSABF represents the common will of the business circles for strengthening cooperation and reaping mutual benefits in countries within the region and is intended to provide an important platform for better communication and collaboration among the participants.
Pakistan had 150 stalls at the Forum with 75 of them under the banner of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) and 75 under the banner of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP).
During the visit of the Pakistani delegation, TDAP also held a fashion show to portray Pakistani culture. Makhdoom Amin Fahim and Tariq Iqbal Puri attended the fashion show along with Gu Zhaoxi, Governor Yunnan Province and Wang Jin Zhen, Chairperson of the Chinese Council for Promotion of International Trade.
Exhibits from top Pakistani designers and design houses such as Asim Jofa, Chen One, Sahar Atif, Ambreen Khan, etc. were also displayed by Chinese catwalk models. The Chinese dignitaries appreciated the event and especially the quality of Pakistani garments. After the fashion show, Zhen suggested to Puri that Pakistani designers should open their outlets in Shanghai where they will be in high demand by the Chinese people. The representative of RUBA Special Economic Zone (SEZ) located in Lahore also addressed the guests at the fashion show and invited Chinese investors to invest in the SEZ.
Pakistan’s pavilion at the Business Forum.