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Friday, 17 April 2015

China plans $46 billion Pakistan port and infrastructure deal

China is planning to invest a total of $46 billion for infrastructure upgrades in Pakistan as part of a wide-ranging China-Pakistan economic corridor that will include the development of a mega-port at Gwadar, officials announced.

The investment was reported ahead of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s visit to Pakistan next week and is designed to further cement relations between the two countries as China focuses on strengthening its hold on key trade routes.

"Ground has already broken on some projects, so we can now say the China-Pakistan economic corridor is now in the implementation stage," Liu Jianchao, Chinese assistant foreign minister told reporters on Friday.

 Earlier this month Pakistan granted the Chinese-run Gwadar Port a 23-year tax exemption in a bid to stimulate further growth at the hub and Jinping is expected to announce a new airport at the site when he arrives for talks.

Located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, just outside the Straits of Hormuz, the deep-sea hub at Gwadar is on an important route for oil tankers bound for Japan and western countries out of the Middle East.

The port is also a link in China’s planned East-West trade route and is seen by Chinese officials as a strategic counter weight to India’s growing port sector.

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