Arial photo taken on Aug. 5, 2019 shows the view of Sukkur-Multan Motorway in central Pakistan’s Multan. The construction of the 392-km Sukkur-Multan Motorway under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been completed.(Photo: Xinhua)
Several Chinese business leaders on Tuesday expressed increased confidence in their operations in Pakistan after attending a meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan on Monday that was aimed at addressing Chinese firms’ concerns regarding policy support and security after recent terrorist attacks.
During the meeting with a delegation of Chinese business leaders, Khan vowed to chair a monthly self-review meeting to address their concerns, according to local media, sending a strong signal that the Pakistani government attaches great importance to Chinese companies.
Zhang Shilu, general manager of Zhengbang Agriculture Pakistan (Pvt) Limited, who attended the meeting, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the meeting was held in response to concerns that have gripped Chinese investors.
“Chinese enterprises encountered some difficulties in doing business in Pakistan and we expressed our expectations to the Pakistani Prime Minister, who showed that Pakistan attaches great importance to the development of Chinese enterprises in Pakistan. It greatly increases the confidence of Chinese enterprises,” Zhang said.
He added that at the investment meeting, representatives of Chinese enterprises voiced their hopes that Pakistan could introduce an industrial park management committee – a common practice in China – to simplify approval processes.
Zhengbang Agriculture currently produces pesticides, including insecticides, fungicides, and herbicides and fertilizers in Pakistan, which are used on all types of crops in the country, including cotton, rice, wheat, citrus and mangoes.
According to Pakistani Prime Minister’s Office Twitter account, Chinese enterprises that attended the meeting included OPPO, Shanghai Challenge Textile Co, and Easy Prefabricated Homes Pvt, a subsidiary of Henan D.R. Construction Group Co.
George Long, CEO of OPPO Pakistan, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the company was hoping for some form of preferential tax treatment and land policies from the Pakistani government to support its R&D and high-tech production. This would boost local employment and local tech supply chains would also be steadied, Long said.
The Chinese phone vendor’s foray into the Pakistan market began in 2014 and it has built 17 aftersales services centers and more than 5,000 retail outlets across the country. “We’re confident about expanding investment in Pakistan and bringing quality smart gadgets to the people of Pakistan,” Long said.
A manager surnamed Jin with Henan D.R. Construction Group who participated in Monday’s meeting told the Global Times that the agenda of the meeting included difficulties for Chinese-funded firms in the local industrial park that include land purchases and natural gas and power supplies.
In October 2019, the company purchased 6.1 acres of land in an industrial park as a factory production base, and started to build the factory after the land purchase procedures were approved in December 2019.
The company had been applying for power supplies and the use of natural gas, but no progress has yet been made, even though construction for the factory was completed in March. Pakistani authorities pledged to look into the matters, Jin said.
Participants in the meeting also discussed security issues that have been under the spotlight in the wake of recent terrorist attacks targeting Chinese personnel.
“After previous terrorist attacks on Chinese project personnel, Pakistan has equipped our factories with a special protection unit,” said Jin, adding that the company remains upbeat about investment and business expansion in Pakistan, citing favorable investment policies.