BEIJING: The Prime Minister held a virtual meeting with He Lifeng, Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and Vice Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing. During the meeting, both sides reviewed the progress of ongoing CPEC projects and discussed the preparations for future initiatives.

The Prime Minister was accompanied by cabinet ministers and senior officials for the meeting while Mr. He Lifeng was accompanied by Vice Chairmen Ning Jizhe and Tang Dengjie and other senior officials of the NDRC.

In his remarks, the Prime Minister said that Pakistan-China All-Weather Strategic Cooperative Partnership was time-tested and timeless. Despite COVID-19 pandemic, work on all CPEC projects progressed steadily due to joint cooperation of both sides. The Prime Minister appreciated efforts of the NDRC and relevant authorities of both sides in this regard.

Prime Minister Imran Khan reiterated that as the flagship project of BRI, CPEC had strategic significance for both Pakistan and China and was delivering tangible benefits to the people of two countries. He noted with satisfaction that CPEC’s early-harvest projects have transformed Pakistan’s economic landscape thus laying a solid foundation for sustainable economic growth.

Reaffirming the commitment of two sides to timely completion of CPEC and its high-quality development, the Prime Minister said that both sides would continue expediting efforts to achieve Gwadar’s potential as a hub of regional commerce and industry while also prioritizing preparatory work on the ML-I and other key energy projects.

In his remarks, Chairman NDRC said that China attached immense significance to CPEC and was firmly committed to its steady progress and development. He noted that China has become Pakistan’s largest investment and trade partner in last seven years and both sides were keen to maintain the momentum of overall economic and trade ties in future as well.

Chairman He added that NDRC and all relevant Chinese institutions would continue their efforts to encourage Chinese state-owned and private enterprises for investment in CPEC projects. In this regard, both sides had decided to establish new green, digital, health, trade and industry corridors, which would enhance sector-wise cooperation in these areas. 

Thanking the Prime Minister for his firm support, Mr. He Lifeng expressed China’s readiness to assist Pakistan in the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, science and technology and socio-economic development.

During the meeting, both sides welcomed the signing of the Framework Agreement on Industrial Cooperation between the Board of Investment (BOI) and the NDRC which would, inter alia, facilitate relocation of China’s industrial units to CPEC SEZs and accelerate investment from China and elsewhere.

Both sides also signed the Minutes of the 6th JWG meeting on Gwadar which was held on 30 December 2021. The Minutes were signed by Mr. Asad Umar, the Federal Minister of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, and Mr. Ning Jizhe,the Vice-Chairman of NDRC.