ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China are venturing into a second phase of industrial cooperation under the multibillion dollars-CPEC as energy projects near completion, a Chinese emissary said on Monday.

“The industrial cooperation is the only road to development for Pakistan,” China’s Acting Ambassador in Pakistan Zhao Lijian said.  “Some countries claim that have found different road to development as for example they can become a developed country only by developing services sector. This is not true, as the only road to development is through the industrialisation.”

Lijian was inaugurating a training workshop on industrial zones under CPEC arranged by the Board of Investment. Energy projects are the core component of over $50 billion worth of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), envisaging 10,000 megawatts of electricity by next year.

Currently, China is exploring options to relocate its industries to different parts of the world, including Pakistan.  Pakistani authorities have already identified areas for establishing nine special economic zones across the country. Pakistan is planning to establish 46 such zones alongside the CPEC route in the long-run.

China, the ambassador said, is one of the shining examples of utilising industrial parks to achieve industrialisation since 1978. The country had missed the globalisation bus for 20 years and same is the case with Pakistan.

“China’s experience can help Pakistan to catch the train of industrialisation,” he added. “Pakistan can learn from Chinese experience.”  Lijian said that China had over $1,500 per capita income only 13 years ago. Pakistan had the same level last year and so the country is only 13 years behind China. “Pakistan is today in a much better position than where China was when it embarked up reforms agenda in 1978.”

Chinese diplomat said business communities from both China and Pakistan could benefit from interactions.  “Industrial growth is the most modern way to maximise economic growth in a relatively short span and China’s experience in economic development provides a glaring experience for the benefit of all developing nations,” he added. “China’s GDP has grown exponentially due to special economic zones despite a fact that they were late to undertake industrialisation as compared to other developed nations.”

Lijian hoped that Pakistan would seize enormous opportunities enabled by industrial cooperation under CPEC to maximise its economic growth.  Chinese experts said stable political system, improved infrastructure and market environment, and regulatory regimes are prerequisites to ensure industrial cooperation. Du Zhenli, director of China International Engineering Consulting Corporation led a seven-member group of Chinese experts. The delegation was on a visit to conduct workshops in Karachi and Lahore in addition to undertake visits to the proposed sites of special economic zones in Sindh and the Punjab.

Xu Yongqian, legal counsel of China Association of Development Zones said Beijing implemented a three-phased strategy that led to 10-time increase in its GDP and manifold growth in revenue.

Yongqian said China deployed suitable laws and regulatory framework to run the affairs of its special economic zones. The country has established special authority to run the affairs of the zones with no interference from the government into administrative matters. The counsel further said Gwadar lacks required infrastructure and therefore both the countries would have to work together to make the port city smart and modern.

Hassan Daud, coordinator CPEC from the ministry of planning told the workshop’s participants that all the stakeholders, including private sector, are involved in CPEC industrial zones.   The training workshop aimed at providing opportunities to people to learn about Chinese experience of developing industrial parks for different sub-sectors for the fast industrial development.

Industrial cooperation experts from both the sides will meet today (Tuesday) to explore the way forward and discuss issues of mutual interest.