A Chinese government official has urged Pakistani businessmen to benefit from the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone which, according to him, will usher in a new era of business growth and development in the country. China has already opened its industry to the US and European entrepreneurs who have invested billions of dollars in that country. Pakistanis are one of the major buyers of the Chinese goods which have not only boosted business to business cooperation, but also strengthened the eternal bonds of friendship between the two countries. Pakistanis import goods worth billions dollars from China annually and have invested in many industrial and business concerns in that country. The current Chinese industrial policy has been passing through a transitional period as the country is shifting from small industry to heavy industry. China has decided to transfer its small industry to Bangladesh and has also offered over $22 billion investment. It is the same offer which Japan had given to Malaysia in 80s and the later emerged as the Asian economic giant in a few years. Malaysia which was a poor country in 1991 was the developed country in 1996 just in five years.
On the other hand, there are voices of concern in Pakistan over the proposed industrial zones in the country. According to some entrepreneurs, the move will undermine the local industry which would not be able to compete with their Chinese counterparts in price and quality of the products. However, living in this modern ear, a close policy will lead to closure of the indigenous industry. It is, therefore, necessary to find a way out and establish joint ventures at the industrial zones. If China is shifting its industry to Bangladesh, Pakistan is the better place for the purpose as it is directly connected with China and there are close business and trade relations between the two nations. The Chinese official’s offer is a good omen as it will provide the Pakistani entrepreneurs a level playing field to introduce their products and expand their ventures outside of their borders. The economic zone, where the Pakistani entrepreneurs are offered investment opportunities, was established in 2013 and is spread over an area of more than 120 km where 23,243 local and foreign companies have already been registered. Pakistan should also adopt the same policy and attract not only the Chinese, but also European and North American investment in the country. However, for the purpose, the government will have to simplify tax system and ease labour laws.