Pak-China economic partnership
The relationship between Pakistan and China is a geopolitical cornerstone for both countries. The solidarity between us and the unanimity of views that we demonstrate is unmatched by any relationship between two sovereign states. The strategic partnership between our two countries is the bedrock of all other partnerships. Sometimes it is said that economic relationship does not match the depth of our strategic proximity. The leadership on both sides has taken a conscious decision to fill this gap. President Asif Zardari has visited China nine times since assuming office. Former Prime Minister visited China five times since early 2008. Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf will be in Tianjin this week. Premier Wen Jiabao paid a historic visit in December 2010. In all these visits, the overarching accent has been on economic partnership.Let us start with our strengths. Our economic relations are growing fast. We have a good architecture for economic and trade cooperation. A Joint Economic Commission (JEC) oversees progress in the implementation of the projects under the Five Year Development Programme (FYDP) for Economic and Trade Cooperation. The first cycle of the programme was concluded last year and we have launched the second five year programme that will end in 2016. Under this plan, 36 projects valued at $14 billion, and covering energy, transport, ICT, industrial, agricultural, health care and education sectors have been identified. The Economic Cooperation Group (ECG) monitors implementation at the working level. We have signed Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) on goods, services and investment. The bilateral trade is increasing. Since 2008, the total volume of trade has grown by 70 percent; whereas Pakistani exports increased two-fold from $1 billion to $2.2 billion during the same period. Last year, the trade growth rate was about 22 percent. Modest but encouraging! This takes us nearer to our goal of $15 billion by 2015. China...
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