Adviser to Prime Minister for Commerce, Industries, Textiles and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood on Tuesday said the country’s future lies in export-led growth strategy, which makes development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) more vital to improve the capacity and to complement the export requirements of the country.

He was addressing an event ‘Dialogue on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC and SEZs Framework’, organized by the Board of Investment at Islamabad Tuesday.

The Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Yao Jing, also addressed the event, which was attended by businessmen, academia, government officials, members of diplomatic community and other important stakeholders.

“Our strategy for the future of Pakistan is being prepared considering China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being developed under CPEC”, said the Advisor.

The adviser said that Pakistan’s economy faced a lot of challenges in terms of fiscal and current account deficits and required serious steps in terms of devaluation, control on imports and government expenditures.

He apprised the participants that export led growth strategy has started bearing fruits as Pakistan has posted 13.6% growth in exports, in February 2020, in terms of value, while all other regional competitors showed a decreasing trend.

The Advisor appreciated the efforts of exporters and businessmen for achieving this result and showed his gratitude towards China for the phase II of the Free Trade Agreement, which is poised to further boost the growth in overall exports of Pakistan.

Explaining the objective of Special Economic Zones under CPEC, Razak Dawood informed that the SEZs are open for businessmen from all countries and nationalities, as the lucrative incentives under SEZs are same for everyone.

He added that investments in various sectors have started to pour in and this pace will pick up in the coming days.

He underscored that the second phase of CPEC is about Industrial and Agricultural cooperation, while the next phase would be about connectivity with regional and global markets, as a part of the overall Belt and Road Initiative.

Earlier, talking to the gathering, Chinese Ambassador explained that the second phase of CPEC is about engagement of private sector, local community and society at large.

He underlined that the current phase of CPEC would cover Industrial Cooperation, Agriculture Cooperation, Social Cooperation, Poverty Alleviation and Cooperation in Science and Technology, with an aim to boost the economy of Pakistan as well as to raise the skill-set and living standards of the local population.

He added that CPEC objectives are for the mutual benefit of both countries.

Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Yao Jing appreciated the vision of the Government under the Prime Minister Imran Khan.

At the beginning of the event, Secretary BOI, Omer Rasul, welcomed the chief guests and other participants to the event.

He gave a brief outline of the entire day and encouraged the participants to come forth with questions and valuable suggestions, which would help BOI in fulfilling the objectives of the event planned by BOI and setting a tone for policymaking in the future.

The event ‘Dialogue on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC and SEZs Framework’ was organized by Project Management Unit of Industrial Cooperation, under the Board of Investment.

After the opening session and remarks by the distinguished guests, a session on Industrial Cooperation under CPEC was held, which comprised insights from different stakeholders.

The concluding session covered SEZs and Industrial Cooperation Framework, which included panel discussions to generate debate on different policy issues. The Secretary BOI explained to all the stakeholders that important findings and insights from the session would be presented to the higher forums of Government for consideration and approval, therefore, paving a way to move forward on the second phase of CPEC and development of SEZs in Pakistan.