ㄑ Belt and Road ㄑ Opinion

Official: Rashakai SEZ game-changer in Pakistan-China industrial cooperation

Xinhua | August 11, 2023

This aerial photo taken on May 23, 2023 shows the Rashakai Special Economic Zone under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in the northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. (China Road and Bridge Corporation/Handout via Xinhua)

The Rashakai special economic zone (SEZ) in the country's northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province is a game-changer project in industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan, said a Pakistani minister.

"It will not only contribute to the socio-economic progress of the province but the entire Pakistan," Sawal Nazir, minister for local government, elections and rural development department of KP, told Xinhua on Tuesday during an event celebrating the 10th anniversary of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) organized here by a local Pakistan-China friendship association of KP.

He said Rashakai, being established under the CPEC, has been developed strategically in terms of trade and connectivity as it is located at the doorstep of the international market.

It brings foreign direct investment in Pakistan and would potentially help enhance trade activity in the country by opening trade avenues for Afghanistan and the Central Asian countries, Nazir added.

The minister said that the project is also important for the technology upgrade of the local industries, adding that it would provide them "an opportunity to learn best practices from the international enterprises."

On the occasion, Javed Khattak, chief executive officer of the KP Economic Zones Development and Management Company, told Xinhua that Rashakai is very important as it is being established in a province facing serious challenges related to security and natural disasters.

Khattak said the project would bring a significant change with respect to human resource generation, opportunities for the labor force, and the economic development of KP.

Launched in 2013, CPEC, the flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, is a corridor linking the Gwadar port in southwestern Pakistan with Kashgar in northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which highlights energy, transport and industrial cooperation.