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China Watch

China Watch [March 18 – March 24] CPEC likely to contribute 3.5% to Pakistan’s GDP

China’s investment of over $60 billion in Pakistan’s infrastructure and power projects under CPEC is expected to increase Pakistan’s economic growth by around 3.5 percentage points. Sinotruk has expanded its product range for Pakistan’s market in a bid to take maximum benefit of CPEC and similar project investments. The Chinese government has offered Pakistan market access for three commodities — rice, sugar and yarn — worth $1 billion for the current calendar year. The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) cleared the Quetta-Zhob section of Western Route of CPEC and recommended for approval to Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC). To facilitate local and foreign investors, the provincial government has established CPEC one stop facilitation center at the Balochistan Civil Secretariat in Quetta. The Thar Coal Power Project started electricity production on Tuesday with 330 MW of power being provided to the national grid.

Please read below for additional details in this edition of China Watch [March 18 – March 24] by CRSS.

CPEC likely to contribute 3.5% to Pakistan’s GDP:
China’s investment, which is expected to invest around $62 billion in various sectors of Pakistan under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is expected to increase Pakistan’s GDP growth rate by 3.5%. This was stated by the CEO of the Standard Chartered Bank Pakistan, Shahzad Dada. He also said that Pakistan’s geostrategic position is extremely important, as it sits at the center of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). During the first five years of CPEC, Pakistan achieved very high growth rate increase numbers, with a maximum of 5.8% in the fiscal year of 2018.[i]

Sinotruk expands product range to benefit from CPEC:
Sinotruk, a sister company of China National Heavy Duty Truck Group, has decided to introduce six new variants of trucks, with state-of-the-art technology, in order to tap maximum benefits out of CPEC, in terms of highways, motorways and high-speed roads. The General Manager of the company said that the demand of trucking industry in Pakistan is increasing rapidly, and the sales volume will increase through the current initiatives being taken under CPEC.[ii]

Pakistan gets $1bn Chinese market access for rice, sugar, yarn:
As part of the latest agreement between Pakistan and China, Pakistan has been given access to the rice, sugar and yarn markets of China, worth $1 billion, in order to facilitate Pakistan’s exports. After Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China in November, rice shipments to China had already been launched, as agreed between the leaders of the two countries. Under the agreement, exporters have been allowed to ship 200,000 tonne of rice and 300,000 tonne of sugar — total value of $300 million. Furthermore, a breakthrough in the Pakistan-China Free Trade Agreement (PCFTA) is also expected, modalities of which will be finalized by April 2. During the negotiations, it is expected that Pakistan will gain access to 301 tariff lines.[iii]

CDWP clears Quetta-Zhob section of Western Route for approval:
Clarifying all misconceptions and uncertainties regarding the Western Route of CPEC, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has approved the Kuchlak-Zhob section of the route, worth PKR 11,342 million. The route has now been forwarded for approval to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC). The Committee meeting was chaired by the Minister of Planning, Development and Reform, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiyar. The Minister said that the 305 km long project upon completion will facilitate streamlined flow of traffic and logistics.[iv]

CPEC facilitation center set up at civil secretariat:
The Balochistan government has established a CPEC Facilitation Centre that would aid investors in exploring various opportunities that are arising out of the mega project in the province. Haji Muhammad Khan, the Minister for Commerce and Industries, said that land has also been allocated in Quetta to build an expo center to help industrialists and traders promote their goods. Furthermore, the feasibility of Bostan Industrial Zone, a Special Economic Zone under CPEC, has also been finalized with an increase of 1,000 acres of land.[v]

Thar coal plant starts electricity generation:
The 330 MW Thar Coal Power plant, a major power project under CPEC, has begun commercial operations. Speaking about the historic launch, the spokesperson of the Sindh Engro Coal Mining Company (SECMC) said that the project has achieved commercial operations three months ahead of schedule. He said that power will be distributed in stages, as first 330 MW will be added to the national grid.[vi] 

This report is compiled and written by Syeda Uruba Nisar, Social Media Associate at the Centre for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), Islamabad.

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[i] Siddiqui, S. (2019, March 22). CPEC likely to contribute 3.5% to Pakistan’s GDP. The Express Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1934475/2-cpec-likely-contribute-3-5-pakistans-gdp/

[ii] Haq, S. (2019, March 22). Sinotruk expands product range to benefit from CPEC. The Express Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1934484/2-sinotruk-expands-product-range-benefit-cpec/

[iii] Khan, M. Z. (2019, March 22). Pakistan gets $1bn Chinese market access for rice, sugar, yarn. DAWN. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1471165

[iv] CDWP clears Quetta-Zhob section of Western Route for approval. (2019, March 22). Pakistan Observer. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://pakobserver.net/2019/03/22/cdwp-clears-quetta-zhob-section-of-western-route-for-approval/

[v] CPEC facilitation centre set up at civil secretariat. (2019, March 19). The Express Tribune. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1932406/1-cpec-facilitation-centre-set-civil-secretariat/

[vi] Thar coal plant starts electricity generation. (2019, March 19). Geo News. Retrieved March 25, 2019, from https://www.geo.tv/latest/231455-thar-coal-plant-starts-electricity-generation

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