Pakistan invites US to invest in CPEC

Islamabad: A top Pakistani official stated that the United States has been invited to invest in projects of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Beijing’s multi-billion dollar project.

“The US has shown interest in energy, oil and gas, agriculture and food processing,” The Express Tribune quoted Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, as saying on Thursday.

“Pakistan-US market access is the main point. We want access to the US market,” he said.

Dawood’s remarks came a day after visiting US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held a meeting here with Pakistani authorities.

Sharing details of the meeting, the advisor said that the US officials have also expressed interest in e-commerce.

“They have agreed that the US International Development Finance Corporation would help in developing of new businesses in Pakistan,” Dawood said. “The US Secretary is ready to send a commerce delegation for coordination.”

He said they discussed bilateral relations and matters of mutual interest, adding that they agreed to enhance mutual trade to a maximum level.

During his meeting with Ross on Wednesday, Prime Minister Imran Khan underscored the need to take full advantage of trade and investment opportunities in Pakistan, stressing the need to enhance business-to-business cooperation between the two countries.

Welcoming Ross to Islamabad, Khan said that his visit would help in realizing the shared vision of Pakistan-U.S. leadership to transform the bilateral relationship into a broad-based, multifaceted and economic-centered partnership.

US Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs, Alice Wells, had strongly criticised China’s international development projects and lending practices under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

Wells had deemed CPEC a form of financing ensuring guaranteed profits for Chinese state-owned enterprises and pointed out that the multi-billion dollar project is certain to take a toll on Pakistan’s economy at the time of the repayment of the debt and dividend in the coming years.

She had also raised concerns over the lack of transparency in the project, saying that it could foster corruption and increase the project cost, thereby resulting in an even heavier debt burden for Pakistan.

However, the concerns were rebuffed by Pakistan, reaffirming Islamabad’s commitment to the multi-billion dollar Chinese project.

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