BEIJING – Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first overseas visit in year 2019 has elevated China’s ties with Italy, Monaco and France to a new level, and injected new impetus into China-Europe comprehensive strategic partnership, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said.
“While the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, Xi’s Europe tour, hailed by the international community, is dedicated to deepening partnership for cooperation, improving global governance, and upholding multilateralism, which shows China’s sense of responsibility as a major country,” Wang said.
In six days, the Chinese president attended over 40 events during his visit to five cities including Rome, Palermo, Monaco, Nice and Paris, Wang noted, adding that it is a trip of friendship, cooperation and exploration that has delivered fruitful results.
FRIENDSHIP & MUTUAL BENEFIT
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the China-Italy comprehensive strategic partnership, and next year will witness the 50th anniversary of China-Italy diplomatic relations.
At meetings with Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Xi agreed with them to further intensify high-level exchanges, consolidate political mutual trust, and elevate bilateral relations, Wang said.
This year marks the 55th anniversary of China-France diplomatic ties. During their meetings, Xi agreed with French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to forge a more solid, stable and vibrant China-France comprehensive strategic partnership, and continue to explore the way for major countries to get along with each other, which should feature independence, mutual understanding, foresight, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, Wang said.
In the joint statement issued by China and France on jointly safeguarding multilateralism and improving global governance, the two sides pledged to build international relations of mutual respect, equality, justice, and win-win cooperation on the basis of respecting international laws and the basic principles of international norms, Wang said.
Speaking of Xi’s visit to Monaco, Wang said leaders of the two countries have agreed to firmly stick to the correct direction of bilateral relations, adhere to openness and cooperation, and pursue more win-win results so as to jointly elevate the China-Monaco relations into a new era.
During Xi’s talks with Prince Albert II, head of state of the Principality of Monaco, the Chinese president said both sides should adhere to openness and cooperation and pursue more win-win results, adding that China welcomes Monaco to actively participate in the joint development of the Belt and Road.
BUILDING BELT & ROAD, DEEPENING PRACTICAL COOPERATION
Wang hailed Italian government’s forethought and pragmatism over its decision of endorsing the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying Xi and Mattarella agreed that China and Italy, which are at the two ends of the ancient Silk Road, are natural partners in constructing the Belt and Road.
Conte, according to Wang, said the BRI will bring great opportunities to Italy. He also agreed to attend the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation to be held in Beijing next month.
France is one of the earliest European countries that have expressed the willingness to take part in the BRI cooperation. During Xi’s visit to France, the two countries signed agreements on the third round of the BRI-related demonstration projects in third-party markets and kicked off a third-party market fund, Wang said.
At the closing session of a global governance forum co-hosted by China and France, Macron said the BRI is significant and can play an important role in world peace, stability and development, adding that the EU could align its development strategy with the BRI in an innovative way and jointly promote Eurasian connectivity.
PROMOTING CHINA-EU TIES
Following his visits to Spain and Portugal in late 2018, Xi came to Europe again in his first overseas trip this year, manifesting the great importance China attaches to Europe, Wang said.
In a world of unprecedented transformations, Xi noted that a stable, strategic and reciprocal China-EU relationship is urgently needed.
Wang said during his visit, Xi had in-depth communication with the European leaders to discuss cooperation in international issues and reached important consensus of adhering to multilateralism, and discarding isolationism and unilateral moves.
He also said Xi and the European leaders agreed to enhance coordination and cooperation within the UN system, give full play to the constructive role of global and regional multilateral mechanisms such as the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and Group of 20 and the EU, and actively contribute to solving international conflicts, combating climate change and promoting sustainable development.
In his keynote speech at the global governance forum, Xi raised “four deficits” in global affairs including governance deficit, trust deficit, peace deficit and development deficit. To address these deficits, he proposed a four-pronged approach of fairness and reasonableness, consultation and understanding, joint efforts and mutual assistance and mutual benefit and win-win results.
It is advisable to pursue an innovation-driven, well-coordinated and inter-connected, and fair and inclusive approach and forge a growth model of vitality, a cooperation model of openness and win-win results, and a development model of balance and common benefits, so that people from across the world could share the benefits of economic globalization, Xi said.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Wang said.
During his visit, Xi, based on China’s just-concluded Two Sessions earlier this month, illustrated to the European leaders the fine performances of the Chinese economy which had overcome multiple challenges in 2018.
Wang said Xi also introduced the newly-adopted foreign investment law, emphasizing that it is necessary to use legal means to better protect intellectual property rights and attract foreign investment.
Xi pointed out that China will continue to push forward all-round reform and opening-up, promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, so that European friends can better share China’s development opportunities.
The European leaders said they are glad to see a greater development in China, and the EU welcomes China’s willingness to share its development opportunities.
Chinese enterprises are welcome to invest in European countries, said the European leaders, adding that they will not adopt restrictive measures against specific companies, and are willing to provide a fair, open and transparent business environment for all foreign enterprises.
During the visit, Peng Liyuan, Xi’s wife, also attended a number of events aimed at deepening cultural and educational exchanges between China and the European nations.
As a special envoy of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) for the advancement of girls’ and women’s education, Peng was invited to visit the headquarters of the UNESCO in Paris.
Wang said Peng’s visit highlighted China’s image of a hardworking, responsible major country that actively participates in international education, gender equality and other affairs.
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.