BEIJING (China) (APP): China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project under the "Belt and Road" initiative, has opened door to foreign investment in Pakistan and brought more development opportunities for the country.
In May this year, China will host in Beijing the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, which aims to discuss ways to boost cooperation, build cooperation platforms and share cooperation outcomes, Chinese newspaper 'People's Daily' Friday reported.
Proposed by China in 2013, the "Belt and Road" initiative refers to building a Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
It is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along ancient trade routes.
Of the projects under the "Belt and Road" framework, the CPEC is regarded as a vanguard in China's cooperation with countries along the routes.
The "Belt and Road" initiative is a "game changer" for Pakistan, former Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said.
Key energy projects and infrastructure along the CPEC , a major pilot project under the framework, will serve as an important engine to drive Pakistan's economic growth and bring more economic activities and opportunities to the country, he added.
Along the corridor, the Thakot-Havelian section reconstruction project of the Karakoram Highway, the only overland channel connecting China and Pakistan, the Multan-Sukkur section of a motorway linking Peshawar and Karachi, as well as the Orange Line of the Lahore Metro have begun.
Meanwhile, 10 power plants with a total installed capacity of 7,300 MW, including one in Sahiwal, have begun construction. Other projects include the Gwadar Port as well as a 25-hectare free zone in adjacent areas of the port.
The CPEC has opened the doors to foreign investment in Pakistan, and its people will benefit from it, Chief Minister of Punjab Shehbaz Sharif said, recognizing the significant contributions the corridor will make to improve the local economy and improve people's livelihood.
These infrastructure projects offer new opportunities for China's machinery industry as well.
Zhao Wei, an employee at Chinese heavy machinery manufacturer Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group stationed in Pakistan, told People's Daily that the company has sold nearly 400 devices in the country thanks to CPEC .
The company's regional sales have grown to more than $43 million, Zhao added.
The "Belt and Road" initiative is a Chinese programme to realize inter-connectivity and common development among the countries along its route.
As a flagship project of the initiative, CPEC has brought together the hearts of both peoples, setting a benchmark for cooperation among en-route countries.
Data shows that, so far, Chinese enterprises have invested more than $50 billion in countries along the "Belt and Road" routes.
In the first three quarters of 2016, China-Pakistan trade reached over $14 billion, and the value of newly signed engineering contracts by Chinese enterprises has surpassed $7.1 billion.