Pak­istan and China hold more talks

Gulf Times Business - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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