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China Watch

China Watch [March 25 – March 31] – Rashakai SEZ to get $128m initial investment

The first meeting of the China-Pakistan Working Group was held in Beijing to identify priority areas for cooperation and deepen pragmatic cooperation in forestry between the two countries. Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the Quetta-Zhob N-50 Dual Carriageway and the new Gwadar International Airport, both of which fall under the portfolio of CPEC. The Kuchlak-Zhob section N-50 of the CPEC Western Route has been approved for dualization by ECNEC, at a total expected cost of PKR 78.98 billion. The Special Assistant to the KP Chief Minister on Industry, Commerce and Labour, Abdul Karim Khan announced that the Rashakai SEZ, the pioneer SEZ of CPEC, will attain funding worth $130 million. The State Bank of Pakistan announced that it had received 15 billion Renminbi (RMB), equivalent to $2.2 billion, as proceeds for a loan extended to Pakistan by the Chinese government.

Please read below for additional details in this edition of China Watch [March 25 – March 31] by CRSS.

China-Pakistan Forestry Working Group meeting held in Beijing:
The first meeting of Joint Working Group (JWG) was held in Beijing, to identify priority areas to cooperate in the field of forestry. During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China in November, China’s National Forestry and Grassland Bureau and Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to expand the cooperation in the field of forestry. Both parties identified areas and work priorities and exchanged views on issues such as wetland restoration and floodplain control, desertification control, saline-alkali land ecological restoration, shelterbelt construction and wildlife protection, and discussed the prospects for cooperation, which would benefit the forestry development of both countries.[i]

Balochistan to get due share in progress: PM
Prime Minister Imran Khan laid the foundation stone of the Quetta-Zhob N-50 Dual Carriageway and the new Gwadar International Airport, both of which fall under the portfolio of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). He also inaugurated the Balochistan Health Complex, as part of a series of development projects in the Balochistan province. Talking about the importance of the CPEC Western Route, he said it will link the province with the rest of the region. He further thanked the Chinese government for establishing the new Gwadar International Airport, citing it as a major platform of growth for the port city.[ii]

ECNEC approves dualization of key western CPEC route:
The Kuchlak-Zhob section N-50 of the CPEC Western Route has been approved for dualization by the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC), at a total expected cost of PKR 78.98 billion. It was also decided that the funding of the project will be done through the savings of the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP). Approval was also given to add Gwadar and Makran to the national grid, which would significantly resolve the energy crisis of the two areas.[iii]

Rashakai SEZ to get $128m initial investment:
The Special Assistant to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister on Industry, Commerce and Labour, Abdul Karim Khan announced that the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (RSEZ), the pioneer SEZ of CPEC, will attain funding worth $130 million. 9% of the funding will be made by the KP government, while the rest 91% will be made by foreign investors who are mainly Chinese. The special assistant voiced hope that China would soon give its approval for the Rashakai SEZ, which would pave the way for investment of $128 million in the zone. He also announced that the RSEZ is most likely to be inaugurated next month.[iv]

State Bank of Pakistan receives $2.2 billion under Chinese loan arrangement:
China, in order to address Pakistan’s economic crisis, has transferred funds into Pakistan’s account worth $2.2 billion. Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves have now achieved double digits, reaching a mark of $10.67 billion. Earlier, during Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang had promised Chinese assistance to Pakistan, promising investments and cash facilities. According to the spokesperson of Finance Ministry, Dr. Khaqan Hassan Najeeb, all necessary requirements have been fulfilled to attain the loan.[v]

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] Shakeel, M. (2019, March 30). China-Pakistan Forestry Working Group meeting held in Beijing. Business Recorder. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.brecorder.com/2019/03/30/484444/china-pakistan-forestry-working-group-meeting-held-in-beijing/

[ii] Shahid, S. (2019, March 30). Balochistan to get due share in progress: PM. DAWN. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1472770

[iii] Haider, M. (2019, March 29). ECNEC approves dualisation of key western CPEC route. The News. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/450069-ecnec-approves-dualisation-of-key-western-cpec-route

[iv] Rashakai SEZ to get $128m initial investment. (2019, March 28). The Express Tribune. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://tribune.com.pk/story/1938651/2-rashakai-sez-get-128m-initial-investment/

[v] S. (2019, March 25). State Bank of Pakistan receives $2.2 billion under Chinese loan arrangement. DAWN. Retrieved April 1, 2019, from https://www.dawn.com/news/1471811

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