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#Geoeconomics, Pakistan: with Beijing’s assistance, Gwadar port to transform into logistics hub, says Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said Pakistan aims to transform the Gwadar port into a logistics hub with Chinese cooperation, reported Radio Pakistan

Located in the mineral-rich region of Balochistan, the Gwadar port is a vital cog in the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, which is a 3,000km Chinese infrastructure network project in construction in Pakistan.

Gwadar port - GettyImages

The PM’s remarks came while chairing a meeting regarding enhancing cooperation with China in various fields on Tuesday.

Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Tuesday that China is a key partner in his country's development and growth, bringing socio-economic benefits to the people of Pakistan.

The prime minister said Pakistan’s desire to increase cooperation with China “on a priority basis in the areas of agriculture, information technology and energy as well as to boost its exports to China.”.

“He assured to extend full facilitation to the Chinese industrialists and investors,” read the report.

Moreover, the PM invited Chinese businesses especially the textile sector to set up industries in Pakistan.

Pakistan desired to further enhance its cooperation with China in various sectors including agriculture, information technology, and energy under the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, the prime minister said while chairing a meeting on Pakistan-China cooperation here.

He held out an assurance that the Chinese nationals would be provided with foolproof security in Pakistan.

Neighboring ally China is one of the key investors in Pakistan, however, in recent times several Chinese projects have come under attack by militants and terrorist outfits.

On March 26, a suicide bomber rammed a vehicle into a convoy of engineers working on a hydropower project at Dasu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, killing six people including five Chinese nationals.

The bombing followed a March 20 attack on the strategic Gwadar port.

Meanwhile, during the meeting on Tuesday, PM Shehbaz said preparations are being made for the next phase of CPEC. “Establishment of Agriculture Demonstration Zones will be an important project in the next phase of CPEC,” he said.

The prime minister directed the relevant ministries to prepare new projects to enhance Pakistan-China cooperation and undertake measures to promote business-to-business ties.

PM believed that China, a key partner in Pakistan’s economic development, could help frame a strategy for increasing the South Asian country’s exports.

After the successful completion of the first phase of the multi-billion-dollar CPEC project, Sharif said that the Pakistani government is preparing for the second phase of high-quality construction of CPEC, which involves launching new projects with Chinese cooperation and enhancing business-to-business linkages.

He said that Pakistan has a lot to learn from China in formulating strategies to boost its exports, saying agriculture demonstration zones are being established and the Gwadar port would become a logistics hub with China's cooperation.

All-out facilitation will be ensured to the Chinese companies, particularly those related to the textile sector, to establish their industries in Pakistan, the Prime Minister said.

Launched in 2013, the CPEC is a corridor linking the Gwadar Port in southwest Pakistan's Balochistan province with Kashgar in Northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport, and industrial cooperation in the first phase, while the new phase expands to fields of agriculture and livelihood, among others.

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