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China’s two sessions secure pivotal underpinning for all-round well-off society

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  • China has to achieve Xiaokang by year 2020 with extreme poverty eradication as top target

BEIJING – As the “two sessions,” a key event in China’s political calendar, came to an end Friday, the country has created decisive underpinning for navigating through complexities toward its goal to build a moderately prosperous society (Xiaokang) in all respects.

The second sessions of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC) and the 13th National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) were convened in a crucial year for China as it has set 2020 as the target year to achieve Xiaokang, with extreme poverty eradicated.

At the closing meeting of the NPC session on Friday, nearly 3,000 legislators approved a resolution on the government work report, which set new targets for sustained economic and social development in 2019.

They adopted China’s first unified foreign investment law as well as an array of other resolutions to deepen reform and opening up.

FRESH SIGNAL FOR OPENING WIDER

As a highlight of the two sessions, the new foreign investment law sends a positive signal of China’s resolve to pursue high-level opening up by creating a level playing field where all investors home and abroad can participate and compete.

It is “a fundamental law in lifting China toward a new stage of high-level opening up in the new era,” said top legislator Li Zhanshu Friday.

Reflecting new ideas, approaches, and measures in reform and opening up, the unified law, to take effect on Jan. 1, 2020, will replace the three existing laws on Chinese-foreign equity joint ventures, wholly foreign-owned enterprises and Chinese-foreign contractual joint ventures.

It stipulates that the state shall manage foreign investment according to the system of pre-establishment national treatment plus a negative list.

With unified provisions for the entry, promotion, protection, and management of foreign investment, it serves as a fundamental law for foreign investment in China, expected to create a more stable, transparent and predictable investment environment.

Over the past decades, China has made substantial achievements in attracting foreign capital. By the end of 2018, about 960,000 foreign-invested enterprises had been set up in the country, with the accumulated foreign direct investment exceeding 2.1 trillion U.S. dollars.

Zhang Yuejiao, a professor at Tsinghua University and former chair of WTO Appellate Body, said this legislation is especially significant against the backdrop that some countries seem to be closing themselves to the world.

“Amid setbacks in economic globalization and challenges to multilateralism, China is embracing the international trade liberalization and investment facilitation more resolutely and openly,” she said.

“This is a tremendous contribution to the development of international economic cooperation, the international economic governance, and the international rule of law.”

FINAL PUSH FOR XIAOKANG

Amid lingering downward pressure and external complexities imbued with graver risks and challenges, China put forward key development targets for 2019 during the sessions, which Premier Li Keqiang called “ambitious but realistic” when delivering the government work report.

It set its GDP growth target at a range of 6-6.5 percent, consumer inflation target at around 3 percent, the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5 percent, and the registered urban jobless rate within 4.5 percent.

It aims to create over 11 million new urban jobs, reduce its rural poor population by over 10 million, and cut its sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 3 percent.

These targets “represent the country’s aim of promoting high-quality development, are in keeping with the current realities of China’s development, and are aligned with the goal of completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects,” according to the government work report.

There are less than two years left for China to meet its goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2020, a key indicator of Xiaokang.

“There should be no retreat until a complete victory is won,” said President Xi Jinping at a panel discussion during the two sessions, urging perseverance in the fight against poverty.

In a legislation plan unveiled during the sessions, the top legislature promised to support China’s high-quality development with high-quality legislation by moving forward with formulating and revising urgently needed laws for deepening market-based reforms and expanding high-standard opening up.

The plan includes deliberation on the Civil Code, formulation of laws on the promotion of basic medical and health care, real estate tax, and export control, as well as revision of the Securities Law in 2019.

“Although China’s GDP growth rate has declined, the quality of growth has significantly improved,” said Lin Yifu, head of the Institute of New Structural Economics at Peking University.

“As long as China follows the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability, promotes high-quality economic development, and continues to pursue supply-side structural reform as its main task, its road to high-quality economic development will become wider and wider,” the economist said.

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Miami’s top architect Kobi Karp enters Pakistani market

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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.

One Canal Road, Lahore, Diyar Homes designed by Kobi Karp architects

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 addressing Diyár Press Conference at Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London.

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.

Kobi Karp offices in Miami

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”.

One Canal Road looking on to Gaddafi Stadium and Gulberg, 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”.

Sky Villa at One Canal Road priced at over $2 Million poised to be the most expensive apartment 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”.

Sky pool at One Canal Road by Diyar Homes.
Luxury residents’ private fitness suite


Luxury residents private fitness suite.

Residents private theatre
Four Seasons Private Residences, Fort Lauderdale designed by Kobi Karp architects

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.

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Pakistan records 70 per cent rise in exports to China

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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.

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Another 0.5 Million SinoVac doses arrive from China   

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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.

 

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