BEIJING: Ahead of Prime Minister Imran Khan’s forthcoming visit to China, Pakistan Ambassador Naghmana Alamgir Hashmi reassured the host country that there will be no delay in the implementation of projects related to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
She said: “There is absolutely no deliberate delay in completing any of the CPEC’s projects, this is a totally wrong impression that the implementation process is being slow-downed.”
“All projects have the full support and backing of the government and the people of Pakistan, besides all the political parties across the political divide, she said in an interview with China Economic Net (CEN).”
“So there should be no confusion or controversy, either about the importance of CPEC or their timely implementation. In fact, some of the projects have been completed even well before time.”
Hashmi cleared that Prime Minister Imran has met Chinese President Xi Jinping twice and conveyed him very clearly that his government’s importance to CPEC and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is absolute.
During the interview, the ambassador deliberated upon some hot economic topics including the free trade agreement’s ratification, Sukkur-Multan motorway’s operation and export of Pakistan products to China.
About the delay in the operation of Sukkur-Multan motorway, Hashmi said it is a huge project that has already been completed.
“The delay in its operation is not alarming as it is projected, as along with this highway, there are certain other things that need to be established. For example, the barriers along the road have to be put in place. That work is ongoing. The lights have to be put. The police force for that particular highway is being raised.”
She reiterated that the operation of project is not being delayed. In fact, work and the commitment to have the motorway operational as soon as possible are going on full steam.
“We will work together and we will make sure that both the people of Pakistan and the people of China explore, enjoy and work hard to realize the full potential of CPEC and the full potential of BRI for the social, economic development and benefit of the people of both countries,” Hashmi remarked.
About the export of Pakistan mango to China, the ambassador hoped that Pakistani mangoes would soon be available in supermarkets all over China.
About its price, she hoped, China will help to reduce the price of Pakistan agriculture products, particularly mango and other delicate fruit by having joint ventures with the Pakistan growers and exporters on the farm to get the same at reasonable price.
She was of the view that there is a rich potential of importing fruit and vegetable in China.
Hashmi pointed out the 2nd phase of the free trade agreement will hopefully be implemented shortly. Currently, it is going through the internal processes of being ratified, she said.
She expressed hope that in the next few months, it will become operational. She was confident that with the FTA becoming operational, the prices of various products will go down, because of the lifting of certain import duties.
Pakistan, China, she said are now in the process of completing the first phase of CPEC and the second phase of CPEC has now started, under which special economic zones will be established in various parts of the country.
So with the establishment of these special zones and with the increasing number of agreements and cooperation in the agricultural sector, the businessmen of the two countries will get ample opportunities to upgrade their trade’s activities.
Enhancing the bilateral trade is a priority of both President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Imran Khan, she added.
She contended that there is huge potential for investments and growth in the agriculture sector that will get a boost with the implementation of FTA.