LONDON: The United Kingdom has expressed its desire to become a key partner in the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). “Britain is a country of global influence and can be an important partner for China and Pakistan in the delivery of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor which has the potential to build closer links between our countries,” said UK Minister of State for International Trade Greg Hands during a business roundtable on the UK participation in the CPEC on Wednesday. “We have a clear ambition to increase trade with both China and Pakistan and UK businesses are well placed to capitalise on the new opportunities in the region,” he added. Speaking on the occasion, organised by the Department of International Trade at Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) London, Pakistan High Commissioner Syed Ibne Abbas said excellent ties between Pakistan and China are time tested and exemplary in state relations. “On CPEC $54 billion investment in four areas namely infrastructure, energy, Special Economic Zones and Gwadar port would give necessary impetus to Pakistan’s economy, thus creating enormous opportunities for the global corporate enterprises,” he added. Abbas also highlighted the successes which Pakistan has achieved in the economic front in the recent past which include 5.2% economic growth rate, achievement of “emerging market” status by international credit rating agencies, declaration of Pakistan Stock Exchange as one amongst the five best performing stock exchanges of the world.
He invited British investors and businesses to explore Pakistan for the business opportunities on account of its strategic location, resilient economy and growing consumer market. Chinese Ambassador to UK Liu Xiaoming said relations between Pakistan and China are mutually beneficial. He went on to say that Pakistan’s geographic position, demographic dividend and economic potential would continue to give the CPEC a great advantage. The China’s One Belt One Road initiative is open to all and so far more than 100 countries and International organisations have expressed support for this initiative, he added. The session came ahead of a larger CPEC conference in May which will be hosted by the UK government and Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) to show how the Britain’s world-leading expertise in areas such as financial and professional services, and energy and infrastructure can support China and Pakistan’s economic vision. Other participants in the roundtable include experts from City UK, RUSI and the China Britain Business Council. HSBC, Deloitte and Standard Chartered also discussed how they and other British firms could support the delivery of CPEC.