LAHORE – Following the start of trade through Gwadar Port under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, the business community, while showing its excitement, has said the dream has come true and the country has taken a giant leap towards economic stability. Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) President Abdul Basit said that Pakistani nation is gratified to China for taking keen interest in economic development of Pakistan and safeguarding its interests. “We congratulate the nation, China’s President Xi Jingping, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Chief of Army Staff General Rahil Sharif and Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong for operationalisation of Gwadar Port,” he added. The LCCI president said that the departure of the trade fleet convoy at Gwadar Port is by no means the end of the journey, but a new beginning of an epoch and Pakistani government should cash this opportunity to the maximum.
The Planning Commission of Pakistan member Iftikhar Malik observed that the CPEC is a fusion of multiple developments in the global, regional, bilateral and domestic contexts. The ultimate objective is peace, prosperity and well being of the people of the two countries and the region. The Chinese president in his upcoming visit to Pakistan would give a road map about how China would pump $50 billion up to 2017 into host of projects that would ultimately generate billions of dollars besides creating numerous job opportunities. The SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry vice president stated that regional cooperation agreements have proliferated to capture this change especially in the global economic landscape. Pakistan’s prosperity is no more a long journey as the current leadership is working diligently on such projects whose outcomes would be visible in a short period of time, he added. The new governments in both countries have signaled their commitment to strengthening Pakistan-China relations very early in their terms of office. Pakistan-China corridor is win-win for both states. Through this mega project Pakistan will become the hub of business and trade in Asia, and Western China will penetrate into Asian and European markets. It will cater to the needs of all federating units of Pakistan through proper rail and road network and multiple projects on energy within the next three years.
Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) Traders Wing General Secretary Shahid Nazir said that the current regime is making the right move by strengthening its economic ties with China and that this is one of the most significant agreements signed between Pakistan and China till now, and it would stretch the depth of their bilateral strategic relations. He said that this project is not a game-changer but a fate-changer for Pakistan and for the prosperity of three billion people of the region. PIAF Chairman Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that this is the first time that Pakistan and China have jointly handled a trade fleet and also the first time that a large number of trading goods have been exported through the Gwadar Port. He said that joint and cordial efforts of the Pakistani and Chinese governments and Pakistan armed forces have attributed to the success of this mega project that is delivering benefits to all the people of Pakistan as well as the region. Iqbal said that Pakistan is one of the luckiest countries of the world as it is blessed with a good neighbour like China. He said that China-Pakistan friendship is a valuable asset of the two countries and the two nations. He said, “In the new period, the two nations need to enhance cooperation, strengthen mutual support and assistance, work together to realise our dreams and uplift China-Pakistan strategic cooperative partnership to a higher level.”
FPCCI former president Mian Idrees said that the economic corridor will not only connect Pakistan and China, but will prove beneficial in connecting Pakistan with its neighboring countries in the Western border area. Functioning of the corridor will open new vista of development prosperity as a result of which the national economy will grow fast, lead to creation of new job opportunities, poverty reduction, and development of transportation sector and boost industrial growth. He said that the Chinese importers may have better prospects for Pakistani goods particularly of Carpets, Leather and leather products, Surgical Equipment, Sports goods, Fruits and vegetables, Rice, Pharmaceuticals, Cotton etc. “Most of our industrial units in these areas are ISO certified and are producing best quality products at competitive rates as compared with other countries in the region.”