October 27, 2014 – Daily Times –
ISLAMABAD: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that there are ample opportunities to invest in energy, mining and agriculture sectors of Pakistan.
He said this during his meeting with chairman of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China in Beijing on Sunday. During the meeting, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Chairman Jiang Jianqing said that if Pakistani government gives preferential treatment to the Chinese companies investing in Pakistan it can propel accelerated investment in Pakistan from China.
He said that ICBC’s current portfolio of projects in Pakistan consists of twenty-four projects valuing $10 billion. He said that the ICBC is talking to a number of Chinese companies for investing in Pakistan in energy projects including solar, wind and hydel. Other sectors in which the Chinese companies are exploring options are in the Gwadar Industrial Zone, where Chinese entrepreneurs are willing to set up cement and other manufacturing industry. The development of such zones would trigger economic growth, he said. He drew the attention of the finance minister towards potential Chinese investment and said that government’s support is essential for such ventures.
ICBC chairman also said that the bank is trying to introduce the textile sector of Pakistan to the Chinese companies.
Jian Jianqing suggested that Pakistan should focus on development of its light engineering sector to improve its economy. He expressed satisfaction on learning that Pakistan is taking special steps to cater to the security needs of the Chinese companies working in Pakistan.
The finance minister welcomed ICBC Bank for opening its branches in Pakistan. He said Pakistan’s policy regime in the power sector is very encouraging. ICBC may therefore consider supporting the Chinese entrepreneurs who are interested in power sector as IPPs under the rubric of agreed EHP of CPEC.
Dar said that the bank should extend its cooperation for development of Chinese energy projects in Pakistan. He said Pakistan would also welcome the role of ICBC for Gwadar’s basic infrastructure development projects.
He said geo-strategic location of Pakistan is important for regional trade and hoped ICBC partnering with enterprises in developing the potential investment opportunities would make it a mutually win-win situation for all parties.
Talking about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, the finance minister said that both countries have agreed to a profile of Early Harvest Projects and ICBC could thus seize the investment opportunities available. He pointed out that infrastructure development of Gwadar was one key area where the Bank’s cooperation could be useful.