Trade activity with China expected to resume in 10 days, says Pak official in Beijing

A Pakistan Navy soldier stands guard while a loaded Chinese ship prepares to depart Gwadar port. (AP)
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Updated 21 February 2020

Trade activity with China expected to resume in 10 days, says Pak official in Beijing

  • Hit by delays in shipments, Pakistan sources bulk of its raw material, intermediate and capital goods from China
  • China’s consul general tells Pakistani businessmen to profit from the second phase of FTA

ISLAMABAD/KARACHI: The Ministry of Commerce on Thursday held a special meeting with the Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) and Pakistan’s commercial counselor in Beijing amid supply chain challenges in the face of the coronavirus pandemic in China. 

The commercial counselor in Beijing “apprised the participants that although there are slight delays in shipments ... normal trading activities are expected to resume in the next 10 days,” the ministry said in a statement after the meeting.

The intermediate goods’ stock cover was sufficient for between six and eight weeks, while the ministry “is cognizant of the situation and is keeping a constant eye on the issue,” the statement read, adding that Pakistan has “significant reliance on China” from where it “sources bulk of its raw material, intermediate and capital goods.”

Meanwhile, China’s consul general in Karachi told Pakistani businessmen on Thursday to profit from the second phase of the China–Pakistan Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“Under the FTA phase II, Pakistani exporters can add $5-6 billion to foreign trade by exporting to China,” the consul, Li Bijian, said at the Karachi Press Club.

The second phase of the FTA came into effect in early December last year, facilitating more Pakistani traders in exporting their products to the Chinese market.

After its commencement, Pakistan has been allowed to export more than 1,000 products to China on zero duty.

Bijian also said that that the second phase of China’s investment megaproject, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project (CPEC), is also underway and will be focused especially on manufacturing, agriculture and poverty alleviation. 

He expressed confidence that the Chinese government will contain the novel coronavirus outbreak by the end of March.

“Today is the 16th (consecutive) day the (numbers of) new cases of the virus are coming down. We are dealing with the situation to control and prevent the outbreak, in Wuhan and other cities. Huge numbers of people have (already) been released from the hospitals,” he said.

Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

Updated 28 March 2020

Chinese doctors, coronavirus relief supplies arrive in Pakistan

  • FM Qureshi received the medical team at Islamabad airport
  • Chinese government and private donations for coronavirus relief includes test kits, PPE, face masks and funding support for an isolation hospital

ISLAMABAD: A special plane from China carrying an eight member medical team and relief assistance for Pakistan’s fight against the coronavirus touched down in Islamabad on Saturday, according to state-owned Radio Pakistan.
The novel coronavirus first broke out in China’s Hubei province late last year, and was declared a global pandemic by the WHO in January 2020. To date, it has claimed about 28,000 deaths around the world with surging rates of infection.
Through stringent containment measures, China was able to stem virus cases on its soil, and this week, the original epicenter of the deadly outbreak, Wuhan City, relaxed lockdown measures for the first time in months. Pakistan’s current cases of the infection stand at roughly 1,400 with 11 people dead and the numbers rising every day. Partial lockdowns have been imposed in some provinces.
China’s state assistance to its western neighbor so far includes 12,000 test kits, 300,000 face masks, 10,000 protective suits for health care workers on the disease front-lines, as well as funding support to build an isolation hospital, according to the foreign office.
The medical team from China are experts in dealing with the coronavirus and will remain in Pakistan for two weeks, the foreign office said. FM Shah Mahmood Qureshi personally received the Chinese medial experts at Islamabad airport.
“We are grateful, this is a unique relationship. And such times tell us how close we are to each other,” Qureshi said at the event.
Additionally, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma’s Foundation and the Ali Baba foundation have donated 50,000 test kits and 500,000 face masks to Pakistan, the foreign office said.
Through the Khunjerab Pass earlier this week, China also provided over two tons of masks, test kits, ventilators and personal protective equipment. Pakistan has also been the recipient of considerable private donations from China.
Earlier this month, President Arif Alvi and a contingent of high level officials including FM Qureshi visited Beijing to express solidarity with China in its fight against the virus.