Washington DC, October 22, 2021 (TDI): Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Planning, Development, Reform and Special Initiatives. Mr. Asad Umar gave a talk at Wilson Center today on the topic “What Next for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor?
The talk was moderated by Ambassador David Hale, Former US Ambassador to Pakistan and Distinguished Diplomatic Fellow at Atlantic Council. A large number of participants representing the think tank and academic community joined the talk virtually.
Mr. Asad Umar gave a detailed presentation on CPEC focusing on its current status, future
plans, and CPEC’s importance in the larger dynamics shaping the regional economic activity by promoting regional connectivity. The Minister highlighted that the four Special Economic Zones and the Gwadar Free zone being established under CPEC were open for investment by investors from any country.
The Minister also mentioned that the U.S. was still the top export destination for Pakistan and the Pakistani diaspora living in the U.S. was making a very important contribution to Pakistan’s socio-economic progress through their remittances. The Minister also noted that contrary to the general perception China was not Pakistan’s largest creditor and that Pakistan’s majority debt was owed to traditional lenders. He expressed the hope that with the vastly improved security situation in Pakistan, FDI from the U.S. will also increase correspondingly.
Minister Asad Umar stressed that peace and stability in Afghanistan were vital for
the realization of Pakistan’s geo-economic vision. He urged the international community to work together in ensuring that Afghanistan does not slide back into an internal conflict that will lead to instability, humanitarian catastrophe, and economic collapse.
Minister’s;s remarks were followed by a Q&A session, in which the Minister gave detailed
replies to participants’ questions related to diverse areas.