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Matter of economic cooperation with China


As Beijing is expanding its economic cooperation with various countries in the region, including Pakistan, the time has come the government should make every effort to attract the private sector of China to invest in the country. China has already signed over $20 billion investment package with Bangladesh and is shifting its small industry there. The Pakistani government and private sector should also persuade the Chinese government to establish light and heavy industrial parks, electricity generation plants and joint ventures in Pakistan which is emerging as a potential destination for business and investment in the region. There is a need to establish business-to-business contacts apart from close liaison between the two governments. The Chinese investors can avail opportunities in agriculture, food processing, textile, real estate and construction sectors of Pakistan. There are also huge investment potentials in the fields of garments exports, manufacturing of medicines and electronic goods as well as oil and gas exploration sector. The China Pakistan Economic Corridor should not only be a road project, but also a highway for economic and industrial cooperation. It is good omen that the two countries have already been in negotiating process to establish industrial zones along the corridor.

In this era of economic development, no country can economically survive all alone and has to cooperate with other nations. China has already bought 40 percent shares of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and its Shanghai Electric Power has invested around $1.8 billion in K-Electric. The local business organizations are also keen to collaborate with Chinese investors to launch joint ventures, including a $2 billion K-Electric expansion plan in the coming years. China’s Baosteel Group, a steel giant, is interested in state-run Pakistan Steel Mills to regulate it on a 30-year lease. The foreign direct investment reached $1.9 billion during the last fiscal year According to newspaper reports, the foreign direct investment in Pakistan increased to $1.16 billion in the first seven months of the current fiscal year as compared to $1.06 billion in the same period of the previous year. Pakistan has recorded low level of foreign investment in recent years and the government will have to revisit its policies as to why foreign countries readily invest in Vietnam and Malaysia instead of Pakistan. It is the failure of the foreign missions which could not present the soft image of Pakistan and a land of opportunities for foreign investors.

Many foreign investors, especially from western countries, had earlier winded up their businesses due to persistent energy crisis, poor governance and security challenges. The recent wave of suicide blasts has come as the biggest test for the government and it has to prove its mettle.

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