ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan has expressed the confidence that the seaports of Pakistan in near future would transform into important trade routes up to Central Asia under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
In a meeting with his Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, he said that Pakistan welcomed the strengthening of trade relations with the Central Asian states for the economic prosperity of the entire region. Imran Khan, who recently paid a visit to Uzbekistan along with a high-level delegation, said that Pakistan had the potential to offer Central Asia a short land route to access the sea.
During the meeting, the commerce adviser briefed the prime minister on the progress of bilateral cooperation and trade agreements concluded during the Uzbekistan visit. He apprised the prime minister about the keen interest shown by the Uzbek and other Central Asian businessmen to invest in Pakistan.
He also briefed the prime minister on the strategy for the upcoming visits to the rest of the Central Asian states, particularly Tajikistan, and its positive impact on investment and trade. He gave a briefing on the meeting of the Board of Investment (BoI) held this week and the plan for expected meetings of various chambers of commerce this month.
PAKISTAN RANKS TOP 10
On the other hand, the annual report on investment security of China’s Belt and Road Construction (2021) was jointly released by China Belt Road Think Tank Cooperation Alliance, Beijing International Studies University, and other institutions. The report puts forward fruits of researches on the political, economic, social, cultural, and ecological investment security in countries along with the Belt Road Initiative (BRI).
According to the report, Pakistan has reformed to simplify the process of starting a company and obtaining a construction permit, implementing a series of preferential policies in recent years. These measures improved its ability to attract foreign investment and strengthened the ease of doing business year by year, making Pakistan one of the world’s top 10 economies with the most improved business environment.
In terms of political security, the report said that South Asia as a whole is greatly affected by the superpower game. China, the United States, Russia, Japan, and other countries outside the region have historical ties and practical cooperation here, which makes the geopolitical environment of South Asia complicated. The long-running conflict between Pakistan and India has intensified pressures on political security in the region, under which the dispute over Kashmir poses a long-standing risk of war.
From the perspective of economic security, Pakistan’s economic security scores up by 220 percent in 2019 compared to 2010, showing an overall trend of growth. The construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has greatly boosted public confidence, stimulated domestic demand, and driven production. However, it is worth noting that since 2019, the accelerated marketization of the domestic exchange rate in Pakistan has led to market fluctuations, currency devaluation, sustained inflation, forcing the government to raise the benchmark interest rate.
Besides, the debt burden increased and the international sovereign rating lowered. As per social security, Pakistan’s social security is rated at a middle and low level. Constant terrorist attacks in Pakistan have led to social unrest. Violent clashes can halt projects, cause losses and even threaten the safety of workers from the investing countries, undermining the confidence of foreign investors.