After the successful completion of the first phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Chinese experts are back in Pakistan for the implementation of the second phase. The first phase of CPEC was to improve the infrastructure and energy situation in Pakistan and now the second phase will be dealing with the industrial development in the country.
China’s Charge d’Affaires, Lijian Zhao said at a conference that the road to development will be through industrialization only which is now going to start in Pakistan. Experts from China and Pakistan will be meeting in order to discuss the implementation process of the second phase in Islamabad.
Zhao said that China was late towards globalization by 20 years but it will help Pakistan catch up with the world by forming a proper industrialization process through active collaboration. He said that thirteen years ago, China’s per capita income was only $1,500, something that Pakistan achieved last year. He said that Pakistan is only thirteen years behind China and it can catch up with Beijing through industrialization in CPEC.
China itself was a slow adopter to industrialization as it started opening up industrial units and park in 1978 only. Pakistan can benefit from the industrial units that will be built under the project which will help them increase their per capita income. Pakistan’s current per capita income is $1,629 while China has a per capita income of $6,894.
Nice Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will be set up under the CPEC framework, as per the sixth meeting of the Joint Committee for CPEC. These nine SEZs will have exclusive incentive plans in order to attract foreign investors in CPEC.
It is expected that the SEZs will be operational by 2025 with one each in the four provinces. An expert group was also formed that will review the SEZs and provide ideas for development and industrialization. Recommendations of the committee will then be provided to the Joint Working Group in the seventh meeting.
Pakistan is currently the biggest investment destination in South Asia due to the economic corridor that will benefit a lot of countries. This is one reason why SEZs are being developed for foreign investments only that will attract investors and allow exposure of foreign industries on Pakistani soil.