The experts have said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is an economic initiative of unprecedented scale and scope. They were speaking at a seminar organized by All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Third World Solidarity held at the British Parliament on 15 May 2018.
H.E. Syed Ibne Abbas, Pakistan High Commissioner to UK termed CPEC a transformative project, focused on economic integration of the region. He said there is a huge gap between perception and reality about Pakistan as well as the CPEC, which needs to be corrected. The High Commissioner said Pakistan is located in a region surrounded by almost half of the world population and at the cross roads of the three critical regions of South Asia, South West Asia and Central Asia. The CPEC would bring about economic connectivity and prosperity to not only Pakistan but to all the three regions which can be connected through the CPEC infrastructure, added High Commissioner.
The Coordinator of the seminar, Alderman Mushtaq Lasharie CBE, Chairman Third World Solidarity said that China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and CPEC are projects of economic integration and a large number of countries stand to benefit from these initiatives. He also shared an account of his recent visit to Pakistan along with other CPEC experts, where they met relevant officials and received briefing on the projects. They also visited various sites where CPEC projects are being implemented.
Speaking at the seminar, former Senator Javed Jabbar said that CPEC is not just a bilateral project between China and Pakistan but it is a part of Belt and Road Initiative, and therefore, has global economic ramification. He said CPEC signifies that Pakistan is a very important place for lucrative investments.
Sir Mark Lyall Grant highlighted the issue of global misperception about Pakistan and said reality about the country is quite different from what it is generally portrayed. He underlined that Pakistan has great economic potential which China has rightly recognized and CPEC is the manifestation of that recognition. Sir Grant emphasized on UK businesses to get involved in CPEC.
Kevin Hollinrake MP said that Pakistan is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and hence offers great opportunities for foreign investment. He further said that Pakistan has the entire critical infrastructure available for doing business with.
Liz Twist MP termed CPEC a great economic initiative. She quoted the experts predicting that CPEC would create 2.3 Million jobs in Pakistan between 2015-30.
Keith Bennett, a CPEC expert was a key note speaker but could not attend the seminar; therefore, his paper was read out for the audience. Mr. Keith termed CPEC an inclusive and open project. According to him CPEC projects are located in underdeveloped areas of Pakistan; therefore, they would uplift the economic conditions of local people by providing them with job opportunities. He said that CPEC has opportunities for other countries in the fields of services like banking, legal expertise, IT and hotel industries. According to Keith CPEC is a unique initiative set to transform lives of the people of Pakistan.
Faisal Rashid MP said CPEC offers great opportunities for British businesses.
Aftab Siddiqui, Founder of UK CPEC Working Group, gave a presentation and highlighted salient features of the CPEC projects. According to him UK businesses could benefit tremendously from CPEC and BRI.
Jeff Cao, Economic Adviser to Mayor of London also speak about the huge opportunities offered by CPEC and impressed upon the investors to take advantage of these opportunities.
Cindy Berman, Director Ethical Initiative, said that Pakistan has tremendous business opportunities particularly in textile industry. She said that UK is committed to retaining preferential treatment for Pakistani export goods even after Brexit.
The seminar was attended by large number of CPEC and Belt and Road Initiative experts, British MPs, representative of British businesses, young entrepreneurs and member of the media.