China, Pakistan experts discussing plans to set up nine special economic zones

A container loaded on the first container ship to depart after inauguration of the CPEC port in Gwadar, Pakistan, November 13, 2016.

:: Chinese and Pakistani experts are working on modalities for establishment of nine special economic zones (SEZs) alongside the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) mega project, a news report has revealed.

According to a report in The News, the government has already notified seven other SEZs and work on their establishment by Chinese and Pakistani companies is underway. The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a combination of transport and energy projects.

Experts believe that this mega project is a rare opportunity to change the economic geographies, especially of Pakistan under which both the countries plan to establish around 46 SEZs alongside this corridor in years to come.

The report says that a Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) experts group is on a five-day visit to Pakistan who had also visited two SEZs in KP [Rashakai] and Punjab [M-3 Industrial City Faisalabad].

All four provinces

On Thursday, a session was held on prioritized SEZs under Pak-China Industrial Cooperation in Islamabad. The nine proposed SEZs to be set up include one each in all four provinces, federally administered tribal areas (Fata), Gilgit-Baltistan and Kashmir and one in Islamabad.

Another one will be set up by federal government on the land of steel mills in Karachi, said the report. “Chinese visiting delegation was quite satisfied with the work on the establishment of SEZs and are going to relocate their industries to Pakistan,” a senior official who attended the meeting told the newspaper.

The government has planned to establish 46 special economic zones (SEZs) alongside the CPEC in years to come and of which nine SEZs sites have been declared prioritised, said Chairman BOI, Dr. Miftah Ismail.

These SEZs include three in Sindh i.e. Khairpur Special Economic Zone, Korangi Creek Industrial Park and Bin Qasim Industrial Park; in Punjab they are Quaid-i-Azam Apparel Park, Sheikhupura, M-3 Industrial City Faisalabad and Value Added City Faisalabad, and Hattar Economic Zones, Haripur, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his wife Kalsoom Nawaz Sharif pose with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan (R) during a welcome ceremony for leaders attending the Belt and Road Forum, in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People on May 14, 2017.

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