Pakistan’s CPEC affords good opportunities for M’sian businesses, says high commissioner

A map illustrating China's silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road, or the so-called ‘One Belt, One Road’ megaproject, is displayed at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong January 18, 2016. — Reuters pic
A map illustrating China's silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road, or the so-called ‘One Belt, One Road’ megaproject, is displayed at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong January 18, 2016. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, July 8 — Malaysian business communities and key players are urged to seize the opportunities offered within Pakistan’s market, specifically the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

Malaysian High Commissioner to Pakistan, Ikram Mohammad Ibrahim, said the CPEC project — a 15-year master plan under the “One Belt, One Road” (OBOR) initiative — is a chance for local businessmen to look into, and penetrate, the market which includes roads and railways that would stretch from the Western Chinese city of Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang province to Pakistan’s second-largest port of Gwadar.

“Ever since the recent governments’ changes and exchanges of the head of states’ visits, the countries are now moving to a greater level of partnership and cooperation.

“The CPEC megaproject is a huge market opportunity that could not be missed by Malaysian business players. This is where the Malaysia-Pakistan Business Council (MALPAK) should play their big role in facilitating business meetings and help to boost the business linkages on both ends,” said Ikram to Bernama International News Service at the Pakistan-Malaysia Business Opportunities Conference (BOC), here, today.

The BOC gathered more than 300 participants — including about 150 Malaysian companies — representing various sectors including tourism, pharmaceutical, chemical, plastic, textile, surgical goods, furniture and construction.

Organised by the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI), a business chamber from Pakistan, the BOC is a prelude to the Chamber’s 32nd Achievement Award ceremony scheduled for tomorrow night, with Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as the guest of honour.

Concurring with Ikram, Pakistan’s Charge d’Affaires to Malaysia, Atif Sharif Mian, said CPEP would continue to create more joint investments in the long run.

“In terms of Pakistan’s context, the project is a US$40-50 billion (RM165-RM207 billion) investment and it is going to upgrade all the infrastructures as well as across other (sectors of) Pakistan’s economy. It is a big corridor and definitely will bring in more traffic for investments.

“Malaysia, in this regard, is globally known as good at providing services and expertise on railways, roadways and construction, thus the country can also invest in this project,” said Atif.

Aimed at increasing regional connectivity for the economic development of Pakistan and China, the economic corridor is also reported to benefit Iran, Afghanistan, India and the Central Asian region.

Earlier in his welcoming speech of the event today, Atif said Malaysia and Pakistan could do more to increase and enhance the bilateral ties shared to date.

“The focus of the BOC today is also to promote and engage the private sectors from both sides because at the end of the day, though governments have helped to facilitate the efforts, it is the private sectors that would need to find opportunities for increasing trade and investments’ purposes,” he said.

Total trade between Malaysia and Pakistan stood at RM5.91 billion last year, an increase of 2.5 per cent compared to RM5.76 billion in 2017.

Pakistan is Malaysia’s third-largest trading partner in South Asia.

The diplomatic relations between Malaysia and Pakistan were established in 1957. — Bernama

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