The first phase of Gwadar Port's Free Zone in southwestern Pakistan was inaugurated on Monday by Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, who commented that the free zone will help facilitate regional and global trade under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
Addressing at the ceremony held in Gwadar, Abbasi said that every harbor needs a free zone to boost its development and Gwadar's zone will link Pakistan with Central Asia, adding that Gwadar's potential was rediscovered through the construction of the free zone.
The prime minister added that the significant bilateral project of the CPEC is the most important initiative in Pakistan and gave the country sustainable energy projects to overcome its energy crisis, adding that CPEC is also an opportunity for the region.
Speaking on the same occasion, Zhang Baozhong, chairman of China Overseas Ports Holding Company, said with the construction of the free zone, the port city of Gwadar will become a commercial hub in the region, adding that the development of Gwadar would help to improve Pakistan's overall economy and people's lives.
According to the COPHC, the operator of Gwadar port, about 30 companies in different businesses such as hotel, bank, logistics and fish processing have entered the free zone with direct investment of about $474 million and are expected to output annual value of $791 million after full operation.
Meanwhile, the first Gwadar International Expo was kicked off in the free zone and has attracted businessmen from Iran, China, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
During the expo, the COPHC and the Balochistan government were expected to sign a deal to provide water to local residents, and other agreements between cities from China and Pakistan anticipated on the further development of Gwadar.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)