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New quality productive forces to power Pakistan and beyond, experts say



Pakistani China observers refuted on Wednesday negative narratives against the Chinese economy, saying Beijing's pursuit of high-quality development focusing on developing new quality productive forces has and will continue to benefit Pakistan and beyond.

"The Chinese economy is very competitive, productive and innovative and would remain a key engine for global growth," said Salman Shah, a Pakistani economist and a member of a delegation at Understanding China Forum, a Pakistan-based think tank.

"If there is any country in the world that has potential, it is China," Shah, who was on a visit to China, said.

With developing new quality productive forces comes tremendous opportunities, the economist said, adding that two countries can collaborate in areas such as artificial intelligence and big data.

"I think it would be a very exciting part of Pakistan-China economic cooperation."

Certain criticisms against China such as overcapacity claim were "politically motivated", Shah said.

"China is generating new ideas all the time and the reforms carried out by the Chinese government over decades are phenomenal. Pakistan has to learn a lot from the Chinese experience," he added.

Speaking of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Shah said the pivotal project was "a symbol of what good economic cooperation can do."

As an important flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative, CPEC is now entering into second phase with focus on agriculture, industrial cooperation and high-quality development.

According to statistics from Pakistan, 36 projects have been completed under the framework of the CPEC and China so far has invested $26 billion.

CPEC cooperation has brought profound changes to Pakistan's energy pattern, dramatically improved the accessibility and lower the costs of the transportation, he added.

"I believe that with the help of China, Pakistan will be able to transform itself into a very dynamic and competitive economy, an economy which can become a hub of this region," Shah said.

Zafar Uddin Mahmood, president of the Understanding China Forum and former special envoy for CPEC, said the Belt and Road Initiative represents a good opportunity for the whole world, especially for developing countries.

Taking energy cooperation under the framework of CPEC as an example, Mahmood said Pakistan was seriously lacking electricity and almost no country was willing to invest and build factory plants in Pakistan but China and Chinese enterprises did.

He dismissed the debt trap allegation by some Western countries as "an utter hype", saying those countries that smear the BRI were in an attempt to disrupt cooperation between China and its partners.

Khurshid Mahmud Kasuri, chairman of the Understanding China Forum and former foreign minister of Pakistan, said he felt the vitality of Chinese economy during the visit hosted by the China Institute for Innovation and Development Strategy.

Impressed with China's immense achievements made in artificial intelligence and other areas, Kasuri hoped people-to-people exchanges between the two countries could be bolstered, so Pakistan could better learn from Chinese progress