Inconsistent policies keep Chinese investors at bay: envoy

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LAHORE: Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing says that inconsistent trade policies, high ratio of taxes and some other issues are reasons for the presence of fewer Chinese investors in Pakistan.

“The main reasons behind fewer Chinese investors in Pakistan are poor trade policies, high taxes, no tax incentives and lack of business-friendly environment,” a local news channel quoted the ambassador as having said while speaking to businessmen at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) on Wednesday.

“Your policies lack consistency, keeping investors from China and elsewhere at bay,” he responded when the business community asked why Chinese companies, after relocating their businesses from the United States, were preferring investment in other countries, including Cambodia and India, instead of Pakistan that was already executing several projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

Yao says while PML-N govt paid full attention to Gwadar port, infrastructure and energy projects, it neglected completion of special economic zones

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The ambassador said that under the CPEC, projects relating to the Gwadar port, infrastructure, energy and special economic zones (SEZs) were to be completed.

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“Though the outgoing PML-N government paid full attention to the Gwadar port, infrastructure and energy projects, it neglected completion of the SEZs. Since there are no SEZs too, how Chinese investors can make investments,” he said.

Under the CPEC, Mr Yao said, the SEZs should be given priority because they would boost joint ventures, specifically in manufacturing and socio-economic sectors of the country.

“In SEZs and joint venture schemes, 70-80 per cent priority would be given to Pakistan shares and exports of Pakistan would increase by 70-80pc,” he maintained. He also revealed that the CPEC would soon be opened to the world for investment.

The Chinese envoy said Pakistan was required to make its trade policies better, besides bringing down ratio of taxes and duties and making its products competitive. “Improvement of competitiveness will help your country make trade balanced.”

He praised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government for having export-oriented vision. “The new government has an export-oriented vision and looks determined to resolve various issues,” the ambassador said.

Published in Dawn, January 10th, 2019

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