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PM Shehbaz Sharif embarks on five-day visit to China

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif embarked on his inaugural official five-day visit to China since taking office in March this year, aiming to bolster bilateral trade and economic relations with Beijing while attracting Chinese investors to Pakistan through business-to-business (B2B) ventures.

This visit follows invitations from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Qiang, with the Prime Minister scheduled to visit Beijing, Xi’an, and Shenzhen during the trip.

Scheduled meetings include discussions with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Qiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Zhao Leji, and heads of various government departments.

To strengthen economic ties, the Prime Minister will engage with executives from leading Chinese companies in sectors such as oil and gas, energy, ICT, and emerging technologies.

In Shenzhen, he will address the China-Pakistan Business Forum and visit Economic and Agricultural Zones.

Discussions will focus on upgrading the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), enhancing trade and investment, and cooperation in security, defense, energy, space, science, technology, and education sectors.

Several memorandums of understanding (MoUs) and agreements are expected to be signed during the visit, including a possible extension of repayment terms for Chinese IPPs to reduce electricity costs.

Pakistan anticipates progress on convening a joint financing committee meeting for the construction of Mainline-1 (ML-1) under CPEC. The project’s estimated cost is $6.7 billion, and due to IMF limitations on sovereign guarantees, the government may request completing ML-1 in phases.

Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal emphasized the government’s prioritization of ML-1, expressing optimism about achieving substantial progress during the visit.

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