Against the background of the rapid development of information technology and interconnection, there is a great possibility of “corner overtaking” and “iterative innovation” in the cooperation between China and Pakistan in science and technology, education, health care, agriculture, mobile payment, venture capital funds to promote the development of S&T enterprises, etc.
The above view was expressed by Dr. Wu Yongqiang, Member and Secretary-General of the Youth Federation of the Central Committee (CPC) of country region sector who was appointed as Honorable Investment Counsellor (HIC) by the Federal Board of Investment (BoI) in an interview with Gwadar Pro recently. His experience and observation of Pakistan, suggestions to attract foreign investment, and the way to give full play to the role of “counselors” were discussed.
Great possibilities of “corner overtaking” and “iterative innovation” in Pak-China cooperation, says investment counselor Dr. Wu Yongqiang visited Ministry of Finance.
High degree of similarity of Pakistan’s development to the beginning of China’s reform and opening-up
Gwadar Pro: Congratulations on your appointment as HIC of Pakistan. You have visited Pakistan in August 2018 on the eve of the inauguration of Prime Minister Imran Khan and met with members of the new cabinet. And your visit covered three representative cities: Islamabad, Karachi and Lahore. Can you please talk about your experience and observation of your visit to Pakistan?
Dr. Wu: I am very honored to be the first foreign visiting guest met by Pakistan’s new cabinet. I am also pleased to see that some of the suggestions I made during my visit to Pakistan have played a positive role in the deepening of relations between the two countries, especially in the promotion of economic affairs. To be recognized by Pakistan at the national level is not only a recognition of my efforts to promote close and friendly relations between China and Pakistan but also a concrete embodiment of China-Pakistan “all-weather strategic partnership”. It is a true reflection of the growing demand for China-Pakistan relations, especially economic and trade exchanges as well.
The frequent exchange of high-level visits and meetings between China and Pakistan is indeed an important factor in the continuous strengthening and deepening of relations between the two countries. Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit to Pakistan in April 2015 is an important milestone for promoting the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). During my visits to the Ministry of Finance of Pakistan, headquarter of the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Stock Exchange, headquarter of the Fauji Foundation, as well as the families of Pakistani big farmers, whether they are former and current cabinet officials or ordinary people, “CPEC” is a frequently discussed topic.
I have also noticed that since taking office, Prime Minister Imran Khan has visited China three times in just one year, held in-depth talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, attended the China International Import Expo, Belt, and Road Forum for International Cooperation and visit major cities in China. These fully illustrate the degree of frequent exchanges between the two countries at all levels.
China, as the largest developing country in the world and a big country in population and consumer market, has taken a road of development that can be used for reference to Pakistan. Pakistan has a consumer market with a population of about 220 million. It is highly similar to the beginning of China’s reform and opening up in expanding opening up, promoting product exports, attracting foreign investment, promoting the consumption demand of urban and rural residents, and developing a market economy.
China and Pakistan have great complementary and mutual demand in major infrastructure construction, import and export of agricultural products, market consumption and other sectors. BRI put forward by the Chinese government includes the construction of six major corridors, among which CPEC plays an exemplary and innovative role. Chinese enterprises have become increasingly active in the Pakistani market in recent years.
“Attracting investment” model of Chinese governments worthy of Pakistan’s reference
Gwadar Pro: You are familiar with the Chinese capital market and venture capital enterprises, and have also served as judges of many venture capital competitions in China. Do you have any suggestions for Pakistan to attract foreign investment, especially Chinese investment, and to promote the development of scientific and technological enterprises?
Dr. Wu: Pakistan’s infrastructure, industrial construction and other sectors have huge demands, while China’s degree of development can well meet these needs. If Pakistan can more actively promote and optimize the export of their characteristic products, it will undoubtedly achieve better results.
Pakistan’s leather, textiles, meat, jewelry, seafood and aquatic products all have great export potential. But it is undeniable that, taking textile and leather products with a relatively complete industrial chain as an example, if the design process can be improved, exports will be more competitive. Industrial design products such as salt lanterns are still relatively monotonous and lack selling points and attractiveness; some agricultural products, such as oranges, have a large output, but there are more seeds; the quality of cherries is still unstable… if these can be improved, I’m pretty sure they will be more popular in the Chinese market.
There are also huge room for the development of scientific and technological enterprises. Large population consumption and application of huge consumption scenarios are the experimental soil where a number of “unicorn” science and technology start-ups can be born.
The “attracting investment” model of Chinese governments at all levels is worthy of Pakistan’s reference. According to the development degree and economic construction characteristics of different cities in the country, the Pakistani government can select the corresponding Chinese provinces or cities, conclude “sister city relations”, and introduce the resources and models that can be used for reference in Pakistan’s economic development.
Gwadar Pro: Do you have any suggestions on how to give full play to the role of “counselors”?
Dr.Wu: It is suggested that the main departments of the Pakistani government regularly arrange professionals to introduce and explain Pakistan’s national conditions, interpret Pakistan’s latest policies and regulations, economic categories, and market demand to the counselors; to fully consider the differential role of counselors and formulate docking strategies according to their different strengths and characteristics to make the best use of their talents.
Source: China Economic Net