Islamabad: Pakistan High Commission organized a webinar on “Investment Opportunities in CPEC related Special Economic Zones (SEZs”), in collaboration with the Embassy of China, on 8 July 2021. The webinar was envisaged in the context of 70th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China. It brought to light the transformative potential of CPEC as the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), particularly highlighting the opportunities for foreign investors. A broad spectrum of audience ranging from business chambers, infrastructure companies in Singapore and China, think-tanks and diplomatic Missions based in Singapore attended the webinar, says a press release received here today from Singapore.
In her opening remarks, High Commissioner Ms. Rukhsana Afzaal, underscored the dividends brought in by the wide array of energy and infrastructure initiatives under the CPEC, aimed to promote connectivity across Asia, Europe and Africa. Her views were echoed in his remarks by Mr. Zhang Xumin, Charge d’Affaires a.i. Embassy of China, Singapore, further underscoring importance the project holds for both countries.
The keynote speeches were delivered by Lt. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa, Chairman CPEC Authority and Mr. Ying Xiong, Director General, National Development and Reform Commission, who emphasized significance of the high demonstration project for the region, in general, and for the bilateral ties between the two countries, in particular. Chairman CPEC highlighted that 37 SEZs were planned under CPEC of which 09 were prioritized and 04 had been fast tracked. He also noted the ground-breaking ceremony of Gwadar Free Zone by the Prime Minister last week as an important milestone, whereby 2220 acre land was allocated for development projects as part of CPEC.
A vibrant panel discussion led by Mr. Faraz Zaidi, Director General (China), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Islamabad; Mr. Du Zhenli, Director General, China International Engineering and Consulting Cooperation (CIECC), Ms. Fareena Mazhar, Secretary, Board of Investment, Islamabad; Mr. Kho Choon Keng, Vice President, Singapore-China Business Association; Mr. Farhan Talib, Regional General Manager (China & Singapore), Habib Bank Ltd.; and, Mr. Chen Wei Hao, Vice Chairman, Belt and Road Committee, China Enterprises Association (Singapore), followed.
The panellists highlighted the investment potential of CPEC project for foreign investors particularly in the SEZs, emphasizing the presence of Chinese companies such as Century Steel and Power China, who have already started their operations in Pakistan. They also dilated upon the opportunities offered by SEZs for Singapore and ASEAN based infrastructure community. Role of financial institutions in CPEC was also highlighted. A lively Q & A session ensued the panel discussions that further enlightened the audience on the promising investment opportunities offered under CPEC, SEZs framework.