Pakistan and China have agreed to set a new direction to the USD 60 billion CPEC for future cooperation by largely shifting away from infrastructure projects and scouting for copper, gold, oil and gas sectors, according to a media report.
The Express Tribune reported that the decision to expand the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor scope to copper, gold, oil and gas sectors was taken during the 9th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting that was co-chaired by Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Vice-Chairman Ning Jizhe.
"The JCC meeting was fruitful, discussions successful and the agreed framework is promising," Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing said, while addressing the media along with the planning minister.
The Chinese ambassador said the JCC had set a new direction for the CPEC. He said the discussions also took place to shift the Chinese manufacturing unit to Pakistan and providing Chinese financing facilities for future projects.
"If we could put all energies and Pakistan could provide enabling environment, the newly agreed framework has the potential to transform Pakistan from low-income to a middle-income country in the next five to six years," Bakhtiar hoped.
Bakhtiar said oil and gas sectors have the potential to attract USD 8 to USD 10 billion Chinese investment in the next three years.
The planning minister stated that copper and mineral development would benefit both the countries as China remained one of the largest copper importers.
He maintained that the revival of the Pakistan Steel Mills with the help of China could also reduce the import bill by USD 4 billion.
The minister declared that Pakistan's security challenges had roots in its neighbourhood and to meet the challenges, there was a need to completely fence the country's borders with Afghanistan and Iran.
He said that border fencing with Afghanistan would be completed by next year, while the Iran border would be fully fenced in two to three years.
“Until there is 100 per cent border fencing, Pakistan's security cannot be 100 per cent guaranteed,” Bakhtiar said.
Ning Jizhe underscored that bilateral economic cooperation would proceed as planned for the mutual benefit of both the brotherly countries.