Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal visited Chengdu city in Sichuan, China, and had a comprehensive tour of the Chengdu High Tech Development Zone (CDHT).

According to a press release issued by the Planning Commission on Saturday, the minister also met with Chengdu-based entrepreneurs, businessmen interested in becoming part of Phase-II of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and members of the Pakistani diaspora.

During the minister’s tour of CDHT, he was briefed by Chengdu Municipal leaders and zonal officials on the High-Tech Development Zone’s history, development profile, special policies to attract both domestic and foreign investment, and pillar industries.

The CDHT, established in 1988, is one of the first national high-tech zones in China. In 2023, the CDHT realised a zonal GDP of over $43 billion.

Covering an area of 237sq km, the zone includes a financial district, biotechnology city, and a science and technology park, employing more than 750,000 people, and registering over 4,300 enterprises.

The minister thanked the local officials for their briefing and invited them to participate in Pakistan’s development, especially vis-à-vis CPEC Phase-II, and to develop technology parks in Pakistan, sharing their valuable experiences and expertise.

The minister also invited relevant experts to visit Pakistan and engage with authorities and businesses so that meaningful cooperation could take place. This was greeted positively by both the municipal leaders and zonal officials.

During interaction with Chengdu entrepreneurs and businessmen, on invitation by the minister, the businessmen shared their suggestions on how the Pakistani government could further facilitate them in expanding their operations in Pakistan, bring more investment into the country, hire more Pakistanis, and increase foreign exchange earnings.

In the minister’s exchange with the Pakistani diaspora, those present shared their achievements and desire to return to Pakistan and contribute positively, the statement added.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 2nd, 2024.

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