China Daily (Hong Kong)

Pakistan’s exports to China expected to double

- By YANG CHENG in Tianjin

Pakistan’s exports to China are expected to double in the next two to three years, said Pakistan ambassador to China, Moin ul Haque.

He made the predicatio­n after a series of celebratio­ns to mark the 70th anniversar­y of diplomatic ties between the countries, including a friendship marathon and a kite and food festival, which were held in Tianjin on Friday.

“During the first six months, Pakistan’s exports to China surged by more than 80 percent despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected global trade and travel,” he said.

Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce indicated that during the first half of this year, Pakistan’s exports to China hit $1.73 billion, up 83 percent year-on-year.

During the same period, bilateral trade increased to $12.6 billion, up 63 percent year-on-year.

The ambassador attributed the momentum to the second phase of the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement, which was signed in 2019, and also to China’s incentive to boost imports — including the China Internatio­nal Import Expo and Pakistan’s six pavilions at leading trade expos in China — Pakistan’s active presence on China’s leading e-commerce portals, and China’s booming economic zones in Pakistan.

As part of the second phase of the free-trade agreement, China, which is Pakistan’s largest trade partner, removed tariffs on more than 300 Pakistani commoditie­s, including agricultur­al products and textiles, bringing the total number tariff-free goods to 1,000.

“China has a particular system to boost imports, which is unique in the world, such as its China Internatio­nal Import Expo; and our country has set up online shops on China’s e-commerce platforms like Alibaba, Taobao and JD — all new impetus for us to hold great confidence in exports,” the ambassador noted.

In addition, he lauded the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has entered its second phase of quality developmen­t this year.

“The CPEC has transforme­d Pakistan’s landscape and, in particular, improved infrastruc­ture for us, and as a result it will benefit China, Pakistan and the region,” he said.

The latest developmen­ts include constructi­on of the western branch of the CPEC, which began this year and is expected to be completed in the next three years.

The electricit­y transmissi­on grid part of the CPEC also began commercial operations this year.

“The last three years have seen difficulti­es in the grid in the area, but since this year, it has improved electricit­y production and transmissi­on,” he noted.

Echoing the ambassador, Luan Jianzhang, director of the Tianjin Foreign Affairs Office, said: “China-Pakistan relations have been stronger than iron for the past 70 years, and Tianjin, which has taken the lead in occupation­al training and in educating top-level skilled engineers in China, could provide top-notch technologi­cal personnel for the CPEC in the future.”

On Friday, Tianjin signed agreements to build friendship cities or provincial relations with Pakistan to link Punjab province and the cities of Islamabad and Karachi, the country’s three main economic engines.

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Moin ul Haque

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