Pakistan struggled to extract major gains from Chinese in JCC talks

Phase-I of ML-I project would commence early next year and all necessary arrangements which includes signing of commercial contract, preliminary design review would be completed in a proper phased maner.

ISLAMABAD: The recently held 7th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor hasn’t brought Pakistan much joy as the Chinese sought more return more than what they originally secured.

Minutes available from the 7th JCC meeting revealed various problems which included changes in concluding deadline of energy projects, ML-1 railway track and speedy activation of revolving fund payments within 30 days to Chinese sponsors, reported Dawn.

During the JCC’s 7th meeting, it was agreed upon Chinese project sponsors and Pakistan’s agencies in power sector would ink supplemental agreement as soon as possible and concluded Pakistani side will ensure timely payment of electricity charge for power projects under CPEC.

Also, it has been decided in principle for the formation of a revolving bank account within thirty days after operational date of CPEC energy projects.

Both Pakistan and Chinese side observed few energy projects under CPEC had strict construction plans and decided mutually to make the financial close and construction of relevant projects conclude quickly.

Joint Working Group (JWG) was directed to undertake joint studies on future load forecast, current power status and future of Pakistan’s power market. From Pakistan’s side it was also highlighted about provision and assurance of water supply for SSRL Thar Coal Block-I Mine Mouth Power Plant for its establishment and operation period by Sindh government.

Regarding ML-I project, the speed now has been decreased to 160 kilometers per hour from original of 260 km/hour. Both side jointly agreed to accelerate all task-related implementation for ML-I projects in a prioritized manner. Although, Pakistan’s request for easing financial terms for ML-I project were not accepted immediately, the notes revealed.

Considering ML-I projects importance, both sides reached to an agreement regarding financing arrangement would be dedicated and ground work would be initiated soon.

It was decided during course of the meeting, that Phase-I of ML-I project would commence early next year and all necessary arrangements which includes signing of commercial contract, preliminary design review would be completed in a proper phased maner.

The authorities also suggested extension of ML-I to Torkham and Chinese said they were willing to discuss extension at technical level, once the feasibility study is successfully concluded.

Also, it was mutually agreed during JCC meeting to speed-up preparatory work which includes commercial feasibility and technical study of projects like Gwadar Port Dredging, Gwadar Port Breakwater and Easybay Expressway Phase-II.

China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) has provided the Feasibility Report of Gwadar Port (Phase II) expansion and Feasibility Report of Gwadar Free Zone (Phase II) to Gwadar Port Authority (GPA), and both sides agreed to undertake construction work very soon.

 

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