Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan makes a keynote speech at a business forum themed "Pakistan-China Trade and Investment Opportunities in the New Era" in Beijing, China, Oct. 8, 2019. [Photo by Chen Boyuan / China.org.cn]
"I came here today to talk to the Chinese investors: this is the time to come to our country. It's an exciting time in Pakistan because as we open up our country for business, it is a great opportunity for people to come and invest, and as we change the mindset in Pakistan, we want businesses to come and make money."
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan made these remarks at a business forum called "Pakistan-China Trade and Investment Opportunities in the New Era", on Oct. 8, in Beijing, China.
Hosted by the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT), the Embassy of Pakistan and the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), the event attracted hundreds of entrepreneurs from both countries in the fields of infrastructure, energy, telecommunications and machinery manufacturing.
Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Abdul Razak Dawood, advisor to the PM on commerce, textile, industries & production and investment were also present.
Gao Yan, chairperson of the CCPIT, remarked that China stands ready to cooperate with Pakistan on industrial parks, agriculture and areas relating to people's livelihoods. She added that the two parties should seize the opportunities brought about by the upgraded free trade agreement between Pakistan and China to push business cooperation to new levels.
Speaking at the occasion, Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his admiration for China's development and poverty alleviation model.
"What inspires me most about China is the way they have lifted 700 million people out of poverty in 30 years," he said. According to Khan, the important thing that Pakistan could learn from China was the way it reduced poverty.
"China concentrated on special economic zones and export zones. They brought in investment from outside. They created wealth and spent it on the less privileged, poor section of the society," he said. "That's how they've achieved this miracle and that's what we intend to do in Pakistan."
The prime minister said that his government is the first government since the 1960s which has changed the business mindset and encouraged businesses to make profits in Pakistan.
According to him, since his government had come to power, it had taken a conscious decision to make it easier for investors to come to Pakistan.
He said that they had formed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA) to address problems that had arisen from the complicated bureaucracy of different ministries that dealt with investment before.
"Now we have decided that there will be one authority which will resolve all the problems of the CPEC, and that authority will be the Prime Minister's Office, so we can make it easier for people investing in Pakistan," he added.
The prime minister recounted the accomplishments that had been made. The Gwadar Port and Phase-Ⅰ of the Gwadar Free Zone have been completed and Gwadar Smart Port Master Plan has been approved.
"In the Phase-Ⅱ of CPEC, our cooperation will focus on industrial cooperation and agriculture," he said.
"Security situation in Pakistan has improved enormously," the prime minister emphasized, "and we have specially created security forces to protect our Chinese workers there, to provide them extra security."
The prime minister reiterated five reasons why people should invest in Pakistan, including its strategic location, its young vibrant population and the economic revival through reform, particularly the advances made in the ease of doing business, as well as the industrial clusters and special economic zones (SEZs).
He also mentioned the sectors Pakistan wanted Chinese investment in: textiles; manufacturing; IT and financial services; physical and technological logistics; tourism and hospitality; food processing and agriculture; housing; and oil and gas.
Prime Minister Khan and his delegation arrived in Beijing on Tuesday morning on a two-day official visit to hold talks with the top Chinese leadership and discuss issues of bilateral significance.