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Pakistan hopes to see Chinese invest US$50b

PAKISTAN needs more trade than aid to boost its economy and expects China's investment in the country to reach US$50 billion in five years, Federal Minister for Investment Waqar Ahmed Khan said yesterday in Shanghai.

"Nothing is abundant in Pakistan and everything is in shortage," Khan said. "The huge demand guarantees high profit of an average 30 percent return in doing business in our country."

The Pakistani minister said as sales in the United States and European countries fell sharply amid the global recession, Pakistan provided an alternative for Chinese trade and investment. He promised that his government will ensure the country is safe for investors.

"We promise to make Pakistan a politically stable, economically prosperous and investment friendly country. We hope investors should have a long-term view," said Khan, who stressed not a single Pakistani bank collapsed during the global financial crisis because of strict supervision carried out by the government.

He said trade between Pakistan and China grew to around US$6 billion last year from just US$1 billion in 2000, and he forecast the volume to rise following a free trade agreement that was signed in February this year.

Khan said nearly all sectors in Pakistan are open for Chinese investment, in particular infrastructure, including roads, highways, dams and housing.

China Mobile will invest US$500 million to build a telecommunications network in Pakistan this year.

Khan was in Beijing and Shanghai where he met executives of more than 20 companies, including China Gezhouba Group Corp and China Mobile. He will also visit Hong Kong next to seek opportunities for cooperation.


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