ISLAMABAD – Pakistan, under the second phase of Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China, would avail duty-free market share equivalent to the share already enjoyed by the countries of Association of East Asian Nations (ASEAN) from China.
The revelation was made by Advisor to Prime Minister on Commerce, Textile, and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Commerce and Textile here at the parliament house.
Dawood told media he was going to China along with Prime Minister Imran Khan where Pakistan and China would sign FTA-II on April 28.
“Although it took a long time to finalize the second phase of FTA, but I would like to appreciate the Chinese government’s support in this regard,” he said.
The advisor informed that under the duty-free incentive package of US$1 billion offered by China, Pakistan has so far exported 150,000 tons of sugar to China while the export of 200,000 tons of rice would be completed by June this year.
Dawood said China had extended a duty free package for export of rice, sugar, and 350,000 tons of cotton yarn to Pakistan.
Chairman of the committee Mirza Muhammad Afridi was of the view that local textile industry would be affected with exports of such a high amount of yarn as the price of the product would go high as a result.
The Advisor said Pakistan produced huge amount of cotton yarn so there would not be any such issue adding that the textile sector related industries were now giving good results as even the closed factories had now start production so it is hoped that the textile sector export would go up in the coming days.
Talking about the performance of textile sector, Senator Shibli Faraz said the sector had become a spoiled child by getting unnecessary subsidies.
He said the productivity, efficiency, and quality of the textile was not up to the mark despite getting huge subsidies and the average monthly textile export never exceeded $1.2 billion for last 20 years.
Admitting Shibli Faraz’ stance, the Advisor said textile needed assistance around 15-20 years ago but now there was no need to offer any subsidy to this sector.
However, Dawood was of the view that the garment industry needed support owing to high prices of the land, therefore the government was mulling over extending long term financing to the garment manufacturers to purchase land and buildings to establish their industries.
Dawood informed, the government was engaged with Japan for purchase of modern textile machinery, hoping that in six months’ time, an agreement would be finalized in this regard.
Nauman Wazir suggested that the government should conduct value chain analysis in this sector to find out reasons of decreasing trend of textile export.
He said the commercial councilors appointed abroad should also be taken to the task and should be made bound to give feedback from their respective countries to find out the potential markets in various parts of the world.
Dawood said “if we want to boost our exports beyond $50 billion level, we must have to look areas other than textile”.
He said the engineering sector having a market share of over $4 trillion across the globe can help Pakistan in increasing its exports to the desired level.
Senator Nauman Wazir pointed out that the government should get assurance from the Chinese side that it would not impose non-tariff barriers on imports from Pakistan.
Dawood said all such matters had already been discussed with China and he would further talk to Chinese authorities to get such assurance.
BRI cooperation crucial for post-Covid economic recovery, says expert
ISLAMABAD: The Belt and Road Initiative is crucial for global economic recovery in the post-pandemic era and building a community with a shared future for mankind by following a path of cooperation, unity and common development, said a political economist.
“Enhanced constructive engagements based on the principle of win-win cooperation is the need of the hour to overcome the challenges posed by the still raging pandemic, and ensure sustainable global economic recovery,” Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, director of the China Study Center at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute, an Islamabad-based think-tank, told Xinhua in an interview.
He said that China is strongly committed to implementing the BRI for the common good, which is evident from the recently held high-level conference on the Belt and Road cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
“It (conference) shows the strong commitment of China to global cooperation and sustainable recovery and development […] China has assured its support to BRI countries. China is willing to provide market opportunities, investment opportunities and growth opportunities for global recovery,” the expert said.
Terming the BRI a proactive constructive economic cooperation plan, Ramay said that despite the global economic disruptions and worldwide lockdowns, China did not pause the initiative and continue to pour investments into various countries, especially the least developed countries.
China kept on investing in BRI programs when the world was going through a serious economic fallout due to Covid-19, giving the much-needed breathing space to a number of countries, including Pakistan, he said.
He said the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, an important pilot project of the BRI, progressed steadily during the Covid-19 pandemic, adding that the projects also helped generate employments and were a great relief in the hardest of times.
During the pandemic, Pakistan and China have enhanced cooperation in the field of agriculture, science and technology and energy. Also, work on special economic zones under CPEC is in full swing to promote industrialisation in Pakistan and boost the national economy, he said.
The economist said that the BRI has been helping to bridge the worldwide infrastructure investment gap. “The world is facing severe challenges to meet the investment for infrastructure development which can hinder economic growth worldwide […] in the context, the BRI investments are helping countries to bridge that gap.”
Ramay said that China has been trying to create new economic opportunities globally, adding that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement signed among its 15 participating countries including China, will provide solid economic growth to the world.
The expert believes that global economic recovery is not possible with the mentality of unilateralism or the “ourselves first” approach as being adopted by some developed countries.
“Rich countries should assist poor countries in containing the pandemic by timely providing vaccine, pooling the resources and working on deeper integration, which will also be ultimately favourable for the developed world through the creation of a market for their products,” Ramay said.
He said that Covid-19 vaccines should be declared as a global public good to fight against the common enemy, and China has been working determinedly in this direction.
“China has donated vaccines to many countries, and it is supplying vaccines at the concessional rates as it is the best instrument against the deadly virus […] vaccinated people can come back to their jobs and play their part in economic prosperity,” he said.
However, Ramay said that despite all the efforts, a few so-called rich Western countries are creating hurdles for China out of their hegemonic thinking and zero-sum Cold-War mentality.
“Instead of concentrating on the most pressing challenges like Covid-19 and world economy, they are bent to baseless criticism and focusing on how to contain China. These countries even dubbed the Chinese vaccine assistance to needy countries as vaccine diplomacy,” he said.
Yet, ignoring all the negative propaganda, China is making every effort to turn the ongoing challenges into opportunities for everyone to forge a prosperous world on sustainable development principles, he added.
Xi declares “complete victory” in eradicating absolute poverty in China
BEIJING, China (Desk) – Chinese President Xi Jinping announced on Thursday that China has scored a “complete victory” in its fight against poverty.
Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, said absolute poverty has been eradicated in the world’s most populous country.
Xi made the announcement while addressing a grand gathering held in Beijing to mark the country’s accomplishments in poverty alleviation and honor its model poverty fighters.
Over the past eight years, the final 98.99 million impoverished rural residents living under the current poverty line have all been lifted out of poverty. All the 832 impoverished counties and 128,000 impoverished villages have been removed from the poverty list.
Since the launch of the reform and opening up in the late 1970s, 770 million impoverished rural residents have shaken off poverty when calculated in accordance with China’s current poverty line.
China has contributed more than 70 percent of global poverty reduction over the same period.
With such achievements, China has created another “miracle” that will “go down in history,” Xi said