Pakistan and China hold more talks
Pakistan and China began formal talks in Beijing yesterday for finalisation of modalities on economic co-operation.
A delegation led by Finance Secretary Arif Ahmed Khan and State Bank of Pakistan governor Tariq Bajwa is negotiating with its Chinese counterparts details of the assistance package.
Talks are a follow-up to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China during which the two sides signed 15 agreements and Memorandum of Understanding to enhance co-operation in economy, trade and other sectors.
A finance division official said the two sides had agreed to elevate the Pakistan-China strategic partnership to new heights.
PM Khan on Thursday apprised the cabinet of his visit to China and said Beijing had assured Islamabad “of every kind of assistance” and Pakistan will reap its benefits in the days to come.
Finance Minister Asad Umar, soon after the visit to China, had claimed that immediate balance of payments crisis had been averted with the help of financial assistance from China and Saudi Arabia.
However, he did not give a figure of assistance from China.
He had further said that the Chinese assistance would be forthcoming but the size and form were yet to be worked out.
Now the delegation to China will work out details of the assistance, an official of the finance division said.
The IMF’s technical level team had started sharing data to determine the gap to be bridged for averting the balance of payments crisis.
The package will be finalised following confirmation reports from China, said the official, while the IMF package will be announced by November 20. Several other measures were announced during the visit to China which, according to Pakistan, will help in reducing the pressure on its falling reserves, especially the swapping currency agreement.
The only announcement that came from the adviser to prime minister on commerce was regarding the Chinese government agreement to increase its imports from Pakistan to $2.2bn by the end of 2018-19 from the existing level of $1.2bn and to $3.2bn by end of next fiscal year. For past many years, Pakistan has been calling upon the Chinese government to grant market access similar to those Beijing had of- fered to Bangladesh and members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) meets Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing (file). A delegation led by Pakistan’s finance secretary Arif Ahmed Khan and State Bank of Pakistan governor Tariq Bajwa is negotiating with its Chinese counterparts details of the assistance package.