- Belt, Road joint development to follow market orientation, international practices: says NDRC Vice Chief
BEIJING – Ning Jizhe, vice-chairmen of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), has said that the joint development of the Belt and Road will follow market orientation and international practices by giving full play to the guiding role of enterprise entities and governments, and that key tasks in the future will include vigorously expanding cooperation in third-party markets and increasing the support for people-to-people connectivity projects of the Belt and Road Initiative.
Mr. Ning made the above remarks during a recent press conference for the Second Session of the 13th National People’s Congress. He noted that in the past five years, important progress and remarkable achievements have been made in jointly building the Belt and Road, which is mainly reflected in the connectivity in five aspects:
First, in terms of policy connectivity, China has signed 171 cooperation documents with 123 countries and 29 international organizations, including developing and developed countries, international organizations, as well as companies and financial institutions of many developed countries, to jointly develop third-party markets.
Second, in terms of infrastructure connectivity, solid progress has been made in the development of China–Laos Railway, the China–Thailand Railway, the Jakarta–Bandung High-Speed Railway, and the Hungary–Serbia Railway. Last week, I went to the China–Laos Railway for research. A few days ago in Beijing, I invited the minister of transport of Thailand and the minister of transport of Laos to study the connection between the China–Laos Railway and the China-Thailand Railway. Smooth progress has been made in the Gwadar Port, the Hambantota Port, the Piraeus Port and the Khalifa Port. By the end of February this year, just a few days ago, the number of China–Europe freight trains had reached 14,000, not including those from China to Central Asia. Special sessions were held in this regard the other day.
Third, in terms of trade connectivity, China’s trade in goods with countries along the Belt and Road has exceeded 6 trillion US dollars in the past five years. Last year, China invested 15.6 billion US dollars in countries along the Belt and Road. Steady progress has been made in the China-Belarus Industrial Park, the China–UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone, and the China–Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone.
Fourth, in terms of financial connectivity, by the end of 2018, the loan balance of the China Development Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China in countries along the Belt and Road was about 250 billion US dollars. China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation has secured more than 600 billion US dollars of insurance coverage in countries along the Belt and Road. China has set up a capacity-building center together with the International Monetary Fund.
Fifth, in terms of people-to-people connectivity, a series of achievements have been made in scientific and technological exchanges, educational cooperation, cultural tourism, green development and foreign aid.
Mr. Ning said that jointly building the Belt and Road has not only promoted the economic development of the countries along the Belt and Road, increased employment, provided tax revenue, improved people’s livelihood and added high-quality assets, but also boosted the economic recovery and development of the relevant regions and even the world.
At present and for some time to come, the building of the Belt and Road is transiting from the planning stage to the stage of intensive work. In adherence to the principles of “collaboration, participation, and common interests” and “policy, infrastructure, trade, financial, and people-to-people connectivity,” we should follow market orientation and international practice, give full play to the leading role of enterprise entities and governments, and promote the high-quality development of the Belt and Road. We need to work together to:
Further build consensus on cooperation. We should steadily expand the scope of cooperation documents on jointly building the Belt and Road and jointly promote the early harvest of cooperation results. We will work together to successfully hold the Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in Beijing in late April this year. We will summarize the progress of past cooperation and anticipate vision of future cooperation.
Make solid progress in connectivity. We should not only strengthen connectivity in railways, highways, airports and ports, but also promote soft connectivity in policies, rules and standards. We need to open up not only land, marine and air Silk Road but also the digital Silk Road. We should work together to build both infrastructure and economic corridors.
Continue to strengthen international cooperation on production capacity. To meet the market needs of countries along the Belt and Road and other relevant regions, we should deepen investment cooperation, foster competitive industries, and enhance the economic strength of each country. China has set up a regularly updated list of capacity cooperation schemes together with Kazakhstan and Russia.
Vigorously expand cooperation in third-party markets. While strengthening bilateral cooperation with countries along the Belt and Road, we should promote third-party cooperation among enterprises from China, the countries where the investment is made, developed economies and other economies, so as to achieve mutual benefit and win-win results. For example, China has cooperated with France in the third-party markets in some Asian and African countries, China has cooperated with Singapore in the third-party markets in southeast Asian countries, and China and Japan have also started cooperation in Thailand.
Constantly enrich the content of cooperation. We should promote innovation in the “Belt and Road” cooperation scheme, model, platform and factor allocation, increase support for people-to-people connectivity projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, and build the Belt and Road into a road of peace, prosperity, openness, greenness, innovation, integrity and civilization.
Ning Jizhe currently serves as the Chinese chairman of the Joint Cooperation Committee for China–Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Miami’s top architect Kobi Karp enters Pakistani market
ISLAMABAD: Miami’s leading architect Kobi Karp the name behind some of Miami’s most iconic developments including the Four Seasons Private Residences and the Legacy Tower, South Beach has completed the designs for the $30 Million luxury residential tower One Canal Road by Diyar Homes.
The design includes in excess of 25,000 square feet of amenity space finished with the finest VERSACE ceramics by the leading Italian design house and includes a sky pool which will be amongst Lahore’s highest above the penthouse floor of the building.
Commenting on the design of the project from an exclusive press conference in London’s plush Grosvenor House, Hotel on Park Lane, Kobi said “I have designed One Canal Road to the highest of international standards, the development rivals any of the best buildings I have designed in Miami or the Middle-East. One Canal Road will be an icon in Lahore’s skyline”.
Kobi Karp architects are Miami’s leading design studio, a multi award winning practice that have been involved in projects across the world including some of the most iconic developments in Miami including Astor & Edison Hotels, Palazzo Del Sol, Four Seasons Private Residences and private luxury homes for the likes of NBA start Juwan Howard and landmark developments in the Middle-East in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Further adding Kobi said “It’s an honour to work on our first project in Pakistan and in a location of this kind at the heart of Lahore, I don’t think we could have had a better project and developer (Diyar Homes) to start with in Pakistan. For me great architecture is the crossover over between design and art. At Kobi Karp Architects we create timeless landmark architecture that stands the test of time. One Canal Road will be a landmark in Lahore”.
On his vision for One Canal Road Kobi added, “Every part of One Canal Road has been planned with exceptional attention to detail, from capitalising on the 360 degree views a location of this kind boasts, to the hotel style 6500 square foot lobby with 28 feet high ceilings, to the fitness centre, spa, and sky pool every inch of this development has been planned to create the penultimate luxury residential address in Lahore”.
Discussing the amenities Kobi said “Our amenities are en-par with the most luxury hospitality sector 5* hotel projects I have done across the world. With over 25,000 square feet of amenities and only 111 luxury residences One Canal Road presents the pinnacle of luxury living”.
Luxury residents private fitness suite.
One Canal Road, Lahore is a $30 Million project by UAE based Diyar Homes. Diyar recently announced a collaboration with VERSACE ceramics as Lahore’s first project where finishing of floors and walls will be by the leading Italian design house.
Pakistan records 70 per cent rise in exports to China
Pakistan enjoys zero duties on exports of hundreds of products to China under free trade deal
ISLAMABAD – In a major development, Pakistan has recorded nearly 70% increase in exports to China in the first quarter of 2021, an official has told media.
“Impressive figures of Pakistan’s exports to China in 1st quarter of year 2021. $888 million as compared to 2020′ Q1 $526 million. An increase of 69%,” Moin ul Haque, Pakistan’s ambassador to China, said on Twitter.
Haque praised his team for, encouraging for more: “Let us keep this momentum to achieve a historic record in 2021.”
Last year, phase two of the much-touted China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement came into effect, which now allows Pakistani manufacturers and traders to export around 313 new products to the Chinese market with zero duties.
Pakistan is already enjoying zero duties on exports of 724 products to China under the first free trade pact signed between the two countries in 2006. After implementation of the second pact, Pakistan has been now allowed to export more than 1,000 products to China with zero duties. The new facility is particularly benefiting the agriculture, leather, confectionary items, and biscuits product sectors as well.
In 2019, Pakistan also signed an agreement with China to use Chinese currency for bilateral trade to get rid of the dollar burden in $15 billion bilateral trade.
According to official data, Pakistan and China’s bilateral trade volume grew to some $15.6 billion in the 2019 fiscal year, up from $2.2 billion in 2005.
The two longtime allies are also partners in the multi-million-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, an ambitious project to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks to boost trade and stimulate economic growth.
The $64 billion mega-project signed in 2014 aims to connect China’s strategically important northwestern Xinjiang province to the Gwadar port in southern Pakistan through a network of roads, railways, and pipelines to transport cargo, oil, and gas.
The economic corridor will not only provide China with cheaper access to Africa and Middle East but will also earn Pakistan billions of dollars for providing transit facilities to the world’s second-largest economy.
Exports to other countries
Despite rise in exports to China, Pakistan has witnessed fall in exports to its western neighbour Afghanistan and other regional countries apparently due to restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic during past year.
The country’s exports to Afghanistan fell 5.57% to $746.3 million over the last nine month of fiscal year 2021, compared to $790.3 million during the same period of last year, according to leading daily Dawn.
A few years ago, Afghanistan was the second-major export destination for Pakistan after the US.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s exports to India also plunged 90.5% to $2.2 million this year from $23.1 a year earlier, according to the report.
Islamabad’s exports in 2020 dropped by over 90% to $28 million from $311 million in 2019, following suspended trade and diplomatic ties with India after New Delhi’s move to scrap the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.
However, Pakistan’s exports to Japan and some central Asian countries witnessed an increase.
Abdul Razak Dawood, adviser to Pakistani premier on commerce and investment, said in a statement that Islamabad’s exports to Japan grew by 47% to $86.4 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2021.
“The exports of seafood, petroleum, dry fruits, spices, minerals, woven fabric, knitted garments, sports goods, cutlery & dates increased,” he said.
The official also said that Pakistan’s exports in April also stood at $2.19 million.
“This is the first time since 2011 that our monthly exports have crossed the 2-billion mark for seven consecutive months,” Dawood stated.
However, he said, “the export growth of 129% over Apr-2020 cannot be taken into account due to lockdown last year.”
The country’s exports from July 2020 to April 2021 rose by 13% to $20.8 billion compared to $18.4 billion year-on-year, Dawood noted.
Another 0.5 Million SinoVac doses arrive from China
Vaccine arrives as Pakistan gears up to provide vaccine jabs to people at large
ISLAMABAD – A special plane of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) carrying 0.5 Million consignment of SinoVac Vaccine arrived here at NurKhan Airbase Islamabad from China on Thursday. The consignment is procured on payment from China.
The consignment arrives as Pakistan gears up to provide vaccine jabs to all its people across country after Eid-ul-Fitr. SinoVac vaccine has been tested in Pakistan’s three major cities including Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore and has proved its worth.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has summoned an emergent meeting of the National Coordination Committee (NCC) for COVID-19 on Friday as key decisions are expected from the meeting in the wake of rising coronavirus cases and deaths across country.
Sources have told DiploMag that the meeting chaired by Prime Minister will be attended by federal ministers, chief ministers and chief secretaries of the four provinces. The meeting will review the situation in Coronavirus Pandemic across the country.
Sources in the federal government have informed this correspondent that the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister would evaluate its options to counter the recent spike in infections of Covid-19. Over the past week or so, the average cases across country stand at 11 percent and the numbers are not dropping down from five thousand new infections on a daily-basis.
The sources said that the meeting led by prime minister would discuss the possibility of imposition of lockdown in major cities of the country with a rate of more than ten percent, while business activities in major cities and areas could be suspended and offices closed.
It is said that the decision of lockdown is likely in the cities of Corona with a rate of more than ten percent. Businesses are likely to be suspended and offices closed in the lockdown cities and areas.
The NCC will give final approval to the lockdown decision in the most affected cities. On the other hand, according to the data released by the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), 57,591 Coronavirus tests were conducted during the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of code 19 tests to 1137,742. A further 5,857 positive cases have been reported.
Thus, the number of certified corona patients in Pakistan has reached 778,238. So far, 275,081 in Sindh, 279,437 in Punjab, 19,704 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 71,533 in Islamabad, 21,242 in Balochistan, 16,026 in Azad Kashmir and 16,026 in Gilgit-Baltistan.
Coronavirus Pandemic has been diagnosed in 5,215 people. Similarly, Federal Minister for Planning Asad Umar has already warned that big cities are not being closed yet but caution has not been observed during the third wave of the pandemic.
“If SOPs are not followed by the people, then big cities will have to be shutdown under lockdown,” Asad Umar warned.