Pakistan to increase trade with China: PM

12:14, January 09, 2011      

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Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Saturday underlined the need for doubling trade with China from current 7 billion U.S. dollars to 15 billion U.S. dollars in the shortest possible time.

Talking to a visiting 100-member Chinese youth delegation, the prime minister said 36 projects have been identified for the next Pakistan-China Five Year Development Program (2012-2016).

"These include major projects in education, health, energy, Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), transport, agriculture, and water conservancy," Gilani said.

He said Pakistan has also set priorities for China's participation in the reconstruction effort in the flood affected areas, agriculture, highway networks, energy and finance and banking.

"We will set up a new Energy Cooperation Mechanism which will promote cooperation in conventional, renewable and civil nuclear energy," said the prime minister.

He said the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has decided to open branches in Pakistan, hoping that Chinese bankers would work towards promoting closer financial and banking ties between Pakistan and China.

"We are grateful to China for giving moral and practical support to Pakistan in the fight against terrorism," he said.

Gilani said Pakistan and China are both committed to fighting the forces of terrorism, extremism and separatism.

"The youth of the two countries has a special responsibility to advocate the values of tolerance and nurture a culture of harmony within societies and amongst members of the international community," he said.

The prime minister said the year 2011 is a special year for Pakistan and China as he himself and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in his December visit designated it as the Pakistan-China Friendship Year to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the smooth, successful and ever-blooming diplomatic relations between the two countries.

He said that youth would be the focus of the Friendship Year and special attention is being paid to a number of youth-related matters including contacts between universities, think tanks, mass media, and film and television.

Gilani said Pakistan will also send 100 middle/high school students to China for understanding of the Chinese way of life.

He said there are 6,000 Pakistani students in China and the country wants to increase the number to 10,000 as the Chinese educational institutions are becoming more attractive for Pakistani students.

The prime minister also thanked Chinese premier for announcing 500 government scholarships for Pakistani students during his recent visit to Islamabad.

Source: Xinhua
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