April 06 , 2017
UK poised to be key partner in CPEC
LONDON: The United Kingdom was eyeing projects in the $51 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), officials said on Wednesday.
International Trade Minister Greg Hands hosted a trade roundtable here on Tuesday, attended by the UK high commissioner to Pakistan and the Pakistan HC to the UK as well as representatives of British firms, policy experts and Chinese officials. “The UK is poised to be a key partner in the CPEC,” official sources said on Wednesday. The UK would host what they described as “a larger CPEC conference” in Islamabad in May.
Hands said: “Britain is a country of free-trade influence and can be an important partner for China and Pakistan in the delivery of huge infrastructure projects that are being planned between the two countries. As part of an outward looking Global Britain, we have a clear ambition to increase trade with both China and Pakistan and UK businesses are well-placed to capitalise on new opportunities in the region.”
A 2015 joint statement by the British and Chinese governments had committed both to support each other’s commercial cooperation in new markets, including China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) the CPEC is a key component of the ambitious project. India has not signed up for BRI because the CPEC passes through Azad Kashmir. Diplomats say India’s endorsing the BRI would mean giving up its claims on Azad Kashmir.