FOCUS ON CHINA

PAKISTAN IS ON WAY TO SEZ KASHGAR.

AMANULLAH BASHAR
(feedback@pgeconomist.com)

July 4 - 10, 2011

Pakistan is observing 2011 as the year of "Focus on China" which is embellished by fast growing trade volume between the two countries as well as exchange of trade delegations between China and Pakistan.

One of the recent friendly gestures of Chinese government is an offer to Pakistan for setting up a one square kilometer zone (to be extended to 2 km) in the newly created Special Economic Zone. Actually, the creation of the SEZ Kashgar would become the Shenzhen of the West, providing great opportunities for the businessmen of both countries.

It is pertinent to mention that this is the second offer within two months as earlier China had also offered a place for office and a display area to Pakistan free of charge for a period of 5 years in Luosiwan, newly developed commercial hub supported by a modern wholesale market with more than 7000 offices.

Tariq Iqbal Puri, Chief Executive TDAP is currently leading a large trade delegation to Kashgar, China to attend the Pak-China Business Forum, which is the second of a series of such Forums, which are being organized to celebrate the 60th year of Friendship between the two countries. About 150 Pakistani exhibitors and prominent businesspersons are participating in a weeklong event, which includes display of products in the Kashgar Fair, organizing the Forum and arranging B2B meetings.

This forum was organized jointly by TDAP, the Embassy of Pakistan in Beijing and the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) on 29th June 2011 to attract trade and investment from China to Pakistan.

Tariq Puri while addressing a business forum said that Kashgar is ideally located to become a hub for trade, logistics, and tourism between Pakistan and China. He called for greater and better links between Pakistan and China through the Kashgar route. He called for businesspersons of both countries to take advantage of the complementarities between the economies of the two regions.

He emphasized upon the need for more business forums on similar lines to be held in all provincial cities of China so that Pakistan's advantages and products are introduced all over China. He further said that the 2nd round of FTA negotiations was underway and he was ensuring that the advantages of FTA would be utilized in the Xinjiang and Kashgar. He informed the participants that TDAP was specially focusing on China and particularly on Xinjiang. This year TDAP would participate in 20 exhibitions in China, and during the Euro Asia Expo in Urumqi in September, Pakistan would participate in a big way, not only projecting Pakistan's trade but also its culture.

Mr. Puri appreciated China's double digit growth during the last 15 years making it the second largest economy in the world. Pakistan's geo-strategic location can certainly leverage the existing trade to new levels.

He said that the policies of government of Pakistan for liberalization encouraged development of private sector and opened new vistas for the private sector to play a key role in all economic activities. He appreciated the Chinese government's policy of encouraging its public as well as private sector to take an active part in projects in Pakistan. China's public and private sector is currently involved in over 250 projects in Pakistan from mega to minor and from strategic to ordinary businesses.

He informed the participants that TDAP has declared China as the focus country for its trade initiatives in 2011-2012, and plans to participate in more than 20 fairs in China as part of Pakistan-China 60 year of establishment of diplomatic relations. Through this outreach program, it intends to access all the different regions of China to introduce Pakistan as a country, which can be relied for its quality and competitive offerings in various sectors like textiles, leather, fisheries, food products, marble and minerals.

TDAP will organize seminars and conferences with a view to identify new areas of trade and investment. During this year, TDAP is sending 10 product specific delegations to China and one such delegation of textile exporters has already visited China on the occasion of China Import and Export Fair in Guangzhou in the first week of May 2011.

He apprised the audience that Pakistan's endeavors have resulted in taking bilateral trade levels to US$8.6 billion in 2010, showing a growth of 28 per cent. Pakistan's exports exceeded US$1.7 billion showing a growth of 37 per cent. He extended invitation to Chinese and South Asian businesspersons to visit Expo Pakistan in October (20-23) this year. TDAP offered to host a Pakistan China Entrepreneurs Forum during the Expo.

Earlier the Pak-China Business Forum was addressed by the Vice Commissioner of Kashgar Prefecture, the Ambassador of Pakistan in China Masood Khan, the Chief Secretary of Northern Areas Saifullah Chattha, former Ambassador to China Akram Zaki and past President of SAARC Chamber of Commerce, Tariq Sayeed. All the speakers highlighted the importance of Kashgar as a link between China and Pakistan and also with the rest of Central Asia.

The officials of Department of Kashgar Prefecture, including Customs, Immigration, Inspection and Quarantine and Taxation Departments participated in the event. It was also attended by 50 biggest importers in Kasghar region and more than 50 businesspersons from Pakistan.