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‘PM Imran Khan’s China visit to provide momentum to CPEC’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani officials expect that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to regain momentum after Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China.

In his three visit which begins on November 3, Pakistan’s prime minister will also attend the Chinese International Import Expo 2018 in Shanghai.

Official sources said that the CPEC will get momentum with the signing of an agreement on industrial zones, progress on agricultural cooperation and addition of a social sector joint working group during the prime minister’s visit to China.

The pace of the flagship bilateral cooperation project had slowed down over the past several months due to government transition in Pakistan.

The two sides would formally sign a framework agreement on industrial zones and set in motion on-ground development of special economic zones (SEZs).

According to officials, the two sides would also formally sign papers to include Social Sector Joint Working Group of the CPEC. The officials from the two governments were currently in the process of sharing final papers.

The two sides had started initial consultations on cooperation in the agriculture sector which was one of the key areas of the CPEC but could not see progress in past due to the PML-N government’s focus on energy and infrastructure sectors.

A delegation of Chinese officials is currently visiting Pakistan to explore areas of mutual cooperation in the agriculture sector, considered by the two governments as key to job creation and increase in crop output.

The visiting delegation had a meeting with Privatisation Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and was briefed on Pakistan’s agriculture sector that provides employment to 45 per cent of manpower and contributed about 24pc to GDP, 20pc to total exports and provided livelihood to 64pc of the country’s rural population, according to a statement.

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