Pakistani president leaves for China to promote economic ties

Business Materials 20 February 2009 18:48 (UTC +04:00)

President Asif Ali Zardari Friday left for China on his second official visit since assuming office last year to promote economic cooperation and seek Chinese assistance to meet energy crises faced by the country, dpa reported.

"The focus of the President's visit is promoting cooperation in the fields of agriculture and hydro-power projects as well as financial sector," Pakistan Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Abdul Basit said.

He said several Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) and agreements, including FTA on Trade and Services will be signed during the four- day Zardari's four-day visit in Beijing. He would also travel to Hubei province and Shanghai city - the industrial hubs of China.

In Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, Zardari will attend a China- Pakistan agriculture and water resources forum, while in Yichang he will see the Three Gorges Dam Project, the biggest hydropower facility in the world.

Zardari will also visit Shanghai city to interact with Chairman/CEOs of leading Chinese banks and financial institutions to discuss ways to enhance investment in Pakistan, according to the official statement.

China is Pakistan's time-tested friend and a major trade partner.

According to official figures, annual trade between the two countries has already surpassed 7 billion dollars, and the two sides are aiming to increase that to 15 billion dollars by 2011.

China is also the biggest weapons supplier to Pakistan and the two countries have jointly developed the JF-17 Thunderjet fighter and K-8 jet trainer aircraft

During Zardari's last visit in October, China agreed to help Pakistan to build two more nuclear power reactors that will increase country's electricity production by 680 megawatts.

Both plants are expected to be built at Chashma, about 300 kilometers south-west of Islamabad, in eastern province of Punjab, where China has already installed a 325-megawatt reactor and is currently working on another with the same capacity that is expected to begin producing in 2011.