Imran Khan to seek Xi’s help to revive CPEC and sagging economy ahead of Beijing Olympics opening ceremony
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan will aim to revive the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project when he meets with Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week, according to a report by Pakistani news agency Dawn. . The Pakistani Prime Minister will join a handful of world leaders attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said Khan would also meet Chinese Premier Li Keqiang. During the meeting, the two leaders will discuss the full range of bilateral relations, the Foreign Ministry statement said.
Pakistani Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin said Imran would ask Xi to relocate Chinese industries to Pakistan’s special economic zones. He is also likely to ask Xi to help transform the country’s agricultural sector. Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, speaking to Pakistani state radio, said Imran Khan would meet business leaders willing to invest in Pakistan.
The country’s national security adviser, Moeed Yusuf, said Imran Khan would also discuss the Afghan issue with the Chinese president. Yusuf said the talks will focus on mitigating the crisis.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB), hours before Imran’s visit, released a report in which it said structural reforms are needed for the development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project. The study titled “Economic Corridor Development in Pakistan: Concept, Framework and Case Studies” pointed out that CPEC itself will not produce results.
“Structural reforms for the development of the private sector are also necessary. In addition, tax reforms are essential to broaden the tax base and improve the perceived fairness of the tax system. The infrastructure built under the CPEC should be fully utilized to expand trade and regional cooperation,” the study said.
The study pointed to three issues – low productivity, lack of competitiveness and an unfavorable trade policy environment – as reasons that played a key role in the lack of successful implementation of the CPEC corridor.
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