Islamabad: Heads of various business chambers in Pakistan have expressed concern over reports that China is planning to set up or establish industrial units and warehouses under the ongoing over 50 billion dollar China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Media reports and sources have quoted representatives of the chambers of commerce and industry of Gujarat, Gujranwala and Sialkot, as saying that Pakistan runs the risk of turning into a purely consumer-driven market if clearance is given for such planning.
Urging the Nawaz Sharif-led government to take the business community in these three industrial cities into confidence about the nature of China's planned industrial units in the country, the presidents of these business chambers -- Abrar Saeed Sheikh (Gujarat), Majid Raza Bhutta (Sialkot) and Saeed Ahmed Taj (Gujranwala) -- said not doing so would further weaken Pakistan's manufacturing sector.
It was decided that all three presidents would call on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to share their concerns over the proposed establishment of Chinese industrial units along the CPEC route.
Mr. Bhutta, in particular, was quoted by the media, as saying that the concerns of local manufacturers with regard to the impact of proposed CPEC projects should be addressed forthwith, as this had the potential to hit export performances from these cities.
The chambers' presidents also sought easing of China's visa policy for local businessmen.
In a related development, the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (PRGMEA) has warned that the country's textile sector faces the eminent possibility of decline, given the advantages being offered to Chinese companies under the CPEC.
PRGMEA senior vice president Javad Choudhry was quoted, as saying that he is concerned about hearing reports of Chinese firms relocating their textile units to various free industrial zones in Pakistan and also being given energy/power at concessional rates.
He said that the government should ask Chinese investors to establish joint ventures with local stakeholders in an equity ratio of 49 percent to 51 percent.