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Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) organized a Seminar on Regional Dialogue on the Role of Parliament in Promoting Exports, Trade and Commerce

Regional Dialogue on the Role of Parliament in Promoting Exports, Trade and Commerce under CPEC in Sindh, “CPEC Industrial Cooperation and Its Way Forward”
Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) organized a Seminar on Regional Dialogue on the Role of Parliament in Promoting Exports, Trade and Commerce under CPEC in Sindh, “CPEC Industrial Cooperation and Its Way Forward” on 18th March, 2021 at Marriot Hotel Karachi.

Speaking on the occasion, Nisar Khuhro, Adviser to the Chief Minister on Universities and Boards, Works and Services, Government of Sindh remarked that industrial cooperation and commerce includes so many things and Pakistan has been a case of lost opportunities. We have been waiting for years but not inched forward. Successive governments have taken their time but failed to come up to the expectations of masses and fulfill their dreams.  

He added that Pakistan is a developing country. Our people look at other developing countries and wonder when we will achieve our goal. We are unable to distribute power to the entire country because of our poor transmission lines. He questioned that why are our people suffering from the issue of load shedding when we have enough power to generate? Sindh alone has the potential of generating thousands of megawatts of renewable energy.

He asserted that we need to set sky as our limit when we talk about development. However, we are lagging behind in so many sectors, so I may sound blunt but I have to say that perhaps Pakistan is not doing enough on its own. Here we must appreciate the efforts of government that envisioned seeking cooperation for projects with China, our friend of all seasons. We should reach out to other countries for cooperation, too. He was of the view that process of CPEC is intrinsically linked with the participation of provinces.  

He further said that there was a need to build a jetty at Keti Bandar to ensure the export of coal to other countries as we have more than enough of our own. He observed that whatever you do, it all comes down to guarantees from the federal government. He expressed hope that the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC can put weight behind Sindh, so we can achieve something. I should also benefit from development before my grandchildren. So I hope the development processes can be speeded up.

Close Interaction

While addressing the forum, Hon. Chairman Parliamentary Committee on CPEC, Mr. Sher Ali Arbab, MNA remarked that Although CPEC is an initiative of the federal government but it cannot progress without the participation of the provinces. The close interaction among federal government, the provinces and territories is highly imperative for realizing the milestones envisaged under CPEC. A lot of cooperation, coordination and determination are needed among all stakeholders.
 He further observed that Pakistan also needs foreign investment, industrial growth and investment in human resources as it is the way forward. And for all this Pakistan cannot rely on friends alone. We have to make our own initiations, too. He remarked that undoubtedly, CPEC is a game-changer, which has a lot of potential but it cannot be materialized without due diligence.

CPEC’s Impact on Local Industry

Hon. Member, Parliamentary Committee on CPEC Mr. Sadaqat Ali Abbasi, MNA also called CPEC a game-changer. He explained what the game is and said that the game has two sides — winning and losing. It is certain that there are advantages of opening up our country for international trade but there will also be some losing for which we have to be prepared.  

A lot of industry, due to less competitiveness on their part, will also be at a disadvantageous position in Pakistan. They may even shut down because of their low standard and the high standard and competitiveness of foreign industry may cross them in the competition. Hon. Members of National Assembly and specially Parliamentary Committee on CPEC are trying its best for all stakeholders to prepare for this kind of game changer too.

He observed that the world is moving so fast, and the fastest actions are seen in the world of business. He highlighted the importance of engaging academia in research and recommended that our academia should also start doing research for what is needed to keep at par with the world in infrastructure and knowledge.
Regional Connectivity
Dr. Jochen Hippler, country director Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, meanwhile highlighted the importance of regional connectivity and said that regional connectivity didn’t mean China only as there are also Afghanistan, Iran, India and Central Asia. Therefore, developing regional connectivity does not mean developing it in part, but it means connecting with all countries.

He observed that export and commerce will not happen just by improving infrastructure. It is equally important to improve the quality of exports. CPEC won’t do that for you though it will open a door for you.  

Dr. Noreen Mujahid, Chairperson, Department of Economics, University of Karachi, also spoke on the occasion and said that many nations are going to benefit from Pakistan. We know that CPEC will enhance our exports and imports. Moreover, CPEC will not just help economic development in Pakistan. It will also bring social development which is interlinked with economic development. CPEC will pave way for expanding markets and create new markets. Keeping that in view, there is also need to improve our competitiveness.  

List of participants is enclosed (Annex-A).