Pakistan-China trade volume to touch $15 billion mark by 2012: foreign office
ISLAMABAD (July 09 2010): The volume of bilateral trade between Pakistan and China would touch $15 billion mark by 2012, said Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit here on Thursday. At a weekly media briefing in the Foreign office, the spokesman said that Pakistan has further strengthened its relations with China during the last two years and the volume of its bilateral trade has increased to $8 billion.
The volume is expected to increase to $15 billion by 2012. He further said that progress has been made on the agreements and MoUs signed between the two countries, as over 100 Chinese projects in various fields are underway in Pakistan and thousands of Chinese are working on these projects.
He informed that President Zardari is presently in China and on Friday the President will attend Pakistan-China Co-operation Forum, which would also be attended by the representatives of different Chinese corporations including mining, construction, banking, shipping as well as representatives of Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industries.
To a question about Dr Afia Siddiqui's repatriation, the spokesman said that Pakistan would appeal against any sentence to be announced by the US Court in the next month. He said that Pakistan has tried its level best and left no stone unturned for her repatriation. Pakistan's Mission in Washington is in touch with her family members, US Senators, thinks tanks and NGOs aimed at giving her possible relief.
To another question, he said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is a matter of great concern for Pakistan as Human Rights situation in the valley has gone from bad to worse. He reiterated Pakistan's commitment for extending its full diplomatic and moral support to the people of Jammu and Kashmir in their legitimate struggle for their right of self-determination.
Commenting on the proposed meeting of External Affairs Minister of India and Pakistan to be held on July 15 in Islamabad, the spokesman said that Pakistan is coming to the dialogue table with positive mindset and looking forward to a result-oriented meeting towards addressing the outstanding issues. The spokesman was of the opinion that Pakistan is examining the case regarding Mumbai attacks and believes that whosoever committed the crime be brought to justice.
To a question, the spokesman said that both India and Pakistan have now realised that they should move forward and try to accommodate each others concerns and the upcoming meeting of the two Foreign Ministers would be helpful in promoting the mutual co-operation.
About the issue of fishermen of the two countries, he said, Pakistan is looking forward to discuss the issue in the proposed Ministerial level meeting and the fishermen detained in both the countries would be released as soon as possible. Commenting on the US's plan to withdraw ISAF forces from Afghanistan, he said it is the coalition countries' matter to decide about withdrawal of forces from Afghanistan. However, he underlined that being an immediate neighbour, Pakistan has been affected a lot due to the law and order situation in Afghanistan and it would like the coalition forces to take a decision keeping in view all the aspects.
The spokesman said that $5.2 billion pledges made at the FoDP Tokyo in April would be received in coming two to three years, adding that some of the amount has already been received. He added that Economic Affairs Division is in touch with the donor countries and is busy in identifying the projects and areas where the amount is to be utilised. To a query about delay in issuance of visas by the US and Pakistan to each other's citizens, he said that both sides are in touch to resolve the issue.