China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yu Jing has said that China would launch 19 projects in Gwadar alone as Beijing is waiting for free zone policy of the Islamabad government.
Speaking at a dialogue, hosted by the Karachi Council on Foreign Relations (KCFR) in Karachi, on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that China was spending $40 million annually to keep Gwadar port functional as it was now started commercial operations as well.
Yu Jing emphasized that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is essence of bilateral long-term relations between Pakistan and China. He said that the economic corridor would develop infrastructure in Pakistan. He said that China is doing huge investment on a partnership basis.
“We are helping Pakistan in various sectors including education, technical education, agriculture, social development, technology transfer etc,” he said. Yu Jing said that CPEC was not only to connect China with Gwadar but it would also lead to Kandahar in Afghanistan, Central Asia and Russia as well.
“We are trying hard to make this world a better place to live. Gwadar is an emerging port of Pakistan which is a long awaited dream of Pakistanis and their government,” he said. In next phase of second Free Trade Agreement (FTA), China would establish manufacturing units of agriculture, sea food and other industries which would also provide huge employment to people, he said.
Ambassador Yu Jing noted that the biggest issues of Gwadar were electricity and fresh water. “China will install a power plant of 300 megawatt, while we will also install a desalination plant with capacity of 5000 tons,” he said. KCFR Chairman Ikram Sehgal and Secretary General Sadeed A Malik also spoke on the occasion.
On Wednesday, the federal cabinet approved exemption of the Gwadar Port from taxation along the lines of the Dubai and Singapore models. Earlier, the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC), a government body responsible for finalizing executive economic decisions, approved a proposal for amendments to various laws that would provide exemptions from income tax, sales tax and custom duties to the Gwadar Port for 20 years – until 2039.
The proposal was submitted by Ministry of Maritime Affairs and sought changes in the tax laws in line with concession agreement between the Gwadar Port Authority and the China Overseas Ports Holding Company Pakistan. Those who will set up industries in Gwadar will have the major advantage. The committee now seeks legal cover for the amendments, and has asked Ministry of Law for a legal way out.
The aim is for Gwadar to become a regional commercial, industrial and shipping hub, as part of the ambitious $61 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project. The Gwadar Port is a deep-sea port situated on the Arabian Sea at Gwadar in Balochistan province. The port features prominently in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan, and is considered to be a link between the ambitious One Belt One Road and Maritime Silk Road projects.