ISLAMABAD: The Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Tuesday formally approved the Long-Term Plan (LTP) of the project at a signing ceremony held here after the conclusion of 7th JCC meeting.
The agreement was signed between the senior officials of Pakistan and China, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal told media in a press talk after the meeting.
Iqbal said the LTP, which was under the evaluation process for the last several months, had now been given formal approval by the JCC.
He said all stakeholders concerned from both China and Pakistan were consulted in preparing the LTP.
“The Long-Term Plan (2017-30) envisages key areas of bilateral cooperation in facilitating and financing the projects under CPEC over the next 13 years,” he added.
Iqbal said that the plan would expand the scope of cooperation in various new areas including social sectors and economic fields.
The meeting was jointly presided over by Iqbal and his Chinese counterpart and was attended by around 150 high officials from Pakistan and China along with the chief ministers of all the provinces and the prime minister of Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The representatives of private sector including trade and industry chambers also participated in the meeting for the first time.
The minister said that the JCC also cleared Karachi Circular Railway project and its feasibility would be reviewed by a Chinese working group which would give the final approval of the report.
He said the financing agreement for Main Line One (ML-1) project to upgrade the railway line from Karachi to Peshawar would also be finalised within three months.
Iqbal said JCC had also formed a working group to launch agriculture projects aimed at producing more value-added agricultural products by utilising Chinese technology in this sector.
The JCC accorded approval for implementation of all infrastructure projects that were approved in the 6th JCC held in Beijing last year.
“The JCC cleared all projects in infrastructure sectors of which feasibility report was completed; however, the projects having incomplete feasibility study would be imparted formal approval in the next JCC meeting,” he remarked.
The minister informed that establishment of nine industrial zones, one each in all four provinces, as well as Gilgit Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, FATA, and Islamabad came under consideration in the meeting and it was decided its approval would be made after evaluation of feasibility studies of all the zones by the Chinese side.
Regarding projects in Gwadar, the minister said the prime minister on Wednesday would inaugurate the Eastbay Expressway, which is the 19-kilometers long main artery linking Gwadar port to the main highway.
He said that after completion of the design, work on Gwadar airport to be funded by Chinese grant is likely to be initiated in the next few months.
Iqbal said the two sides also deliberated upon the security and taxation issues of the CPEC projects.
He said in the JCC also accorded approval to two hydropower projects (100MW and 80 MW) in Gilgit-Baltistan while work on laying of fiber optic cable has been completed.
About private sector’s representation, the minister said that the latest JCC meeting took on board the private sector in this project, which was a game-changer not only for Pakistan but for entire region.
The minister announced that both countries would organise exchange of trade and business delegations on official level to speed up the pace of project.
He underlined the need for expansion in the administrative structure and scope of cooperation in CPEC.