ISLAMABAD - Federal minister for planning, development and reforms, Ahsan Iqbal Friday proposed China-Pakistan business platform for joint production in economic zones under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and working out a mechanism for training of Pakistani human resource in Shandong province to learn about setting up and management of economic zones in Pakistan.

The minister also proposed to establish linkages between universities in Shandong province and Pakistan for exchange of faculty and students as part of people-to-people contact and suggested for alignment of Pakistan exportable products with Chinese import needs to benefit the Pakistani manufacturers and increase trade volume with China.

Ahsan Iqbal put forward these proposals in a meeting with Xia Gang Vice Governor of Shandong Province of China, leading a high level delegation. Ahsan Iqbal said that Shandong is most developed and industrialized province of China. There are enormous opportunities for Pakistan and Shandong province to collaborate in textile, energy, engineering and agro-based industry.

He proposed that Shandong province can benefit at large finding lower cost labour in Pakistan relocating its labour-intensive industries to make their products more competitive. He said that human resource development is a critical area and wherein Pakistan might seek assistance from Shandong province utilising its trained human resource. Minister also called for cooperation in agriculture sector to increase agricultural products and products in Pakistan. Ashan Iqbal further stated that Pakistan can also benefit from Shandong experiences in soil and water conservation, which is critical to Pakistan.

Talking about the provision of clean water, the minister also urged that Pakistan and Shandong can also join hands to purify the drinking water in the rural areas of Pakistan. Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan needs export-led growth by re-orienting the production models and can be done by leaning the experiences and expertise of Shandong province. He also proposed holding of business conferences in Pakistan and Shandong attracting the businessmen from both sides to enhance businessmen to businessmen contacts by putting in place an institutional framework. Minister Planning & Development said that Pakistan greatly values its friendship with China which came to invest in Pakistan at critical juncture of country’s history.

“CPEC raised investment profile of Pakistan in the world by making it safe heaven for billions of Chinese investment,” the minister said. He said that CPEC is fusion of visions of leadership of both countries and a win-win proposition for China and Pakistan. It will provide China the safest and shortest land route to trade with the world and would help Pakistan to become regional trading and industrialized hub through enhanced economic integration.

Ahsan Iqbal hoped that visit of Vice Governor of Shandong province would enhance the future cooperation and collaboration between Pakistan and Shandong to further strengthen the bilateral ties between China and Pakistan. Vice Governor Shandong Province sXia Gang said that his province looks forward to work with Pakistan in various areas and assured to consider the proposals of Minister Planning & Development for furthering the cooperation in economic field between Pakistan and Shandong.