Lahore: Ambassador of China to Pakistan Yao Jing has said that China has no quota restrictions for Pakistani businessmen.
He was speaking at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. LCCI President Almas Hyder presented address of welcome while Senior Vice President Khawaja Shahzad Nasir, Vice President Faheem-ur-Rehman Saigal and Executive Committee Members were also present on the occasion.
The Chinese Ambassador said that mutual trade can be enhanced through people to people direct contact. Businessmen of both the countries should play their role to further increase bilateral trade. He said that good trade policies, low rate of taxes, tax incentives and business-friendly environment in Pakistan can attract huge Chinese investment.
The Chinese Ambassador said that under Joint Coordination Committee meetings, they are working on several projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor like power plants, Railways, Metro train, road infrastructure and Gwadar port. He said that Chinese government is also focusing on health, education, agriculture, water, poverty alleviation and socio economic development of less developed areas like Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said that Special Economic Zones are also underway which should be given priority because they would boost joint ventures, private to private cooperation specially in manufacturing and socio-economic sectors of the country. He added that 70-80% priority would be given Pakistan’s share with main focus to enhance exports of Pakistan.
When the LCCI President Almas Hyder informed that the LCCI delegation is visiting China in March, the Ambassador ensured full cooperation and support to the delegation.
“There is a dire need to find ways to develop consistent policies and stable economic relations with each other. Our present level of trade seems to be the result of lack of knowledge about the mutual potential of Pakistani and Chinese economies”, the Ambassador added.
The LCCI President Almas Hyder said that Pakistan and China being steady geo-political partners have very cordial relations. China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is part of the Belt and Road Initiative promises even greater fortunes for us. It will certainly prove to be a game changer. “Be it electricity generation, infrastructure development, technology transfer, knowledge sharing or joint venture projects with Chinese firms, Pakistan knows that tomorrow is bound to get better than today”, he added.
It is worth mentioning that bilateral trade figures are following increasing trend from the last four years in particular. From 2014 on, the average increase in imports from China is almost dollar 2 billion per year. In contrast to that Pakistan’s exports are constantly dipping for the last three years.
Almas Hyder said that Prime Minister of Pakistan visited China in November 2018 and he was given that assurance that China would offer special concessions to Pakistan for enhancing exports.
He said that China and Pakistan have agreed upon sharing trade related data to address the issue of disparity in the figures of imports and exports between two countries.
For example, Pakistan’s imports from China in 2017 were shown as dollar 15.4 billion on ITC website. When the base country is taken as China, the same source shows that China exported to the tune of dollar 18.3 billion to Pakistan.
The LCCI President said that due to misdeclaration, both countries are suffering losses to their national exchequers therefore necessary measures should be taken to stop it. He said that Pakistan has not been able to reap full benefits of FTA with China in terms of exports as China has given better tariff rates to ASEAN countries. Since the said FTA is being re-negotiated, so, we would like you to take the aforementioned fact into consideration.
He proposed formation of a Task Force comprising members of business community of Lahore and Chinese counterparts to address these concerns.
He said that due to the buildup of unfavourable trade scenario for the Chinese companies in USA, many of these companies are relocating to India, Vietnam and Cambodia etc. but not to Pakistan that is surprising.