Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the initiative taken by Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, by opening its branches in Pakistan, would be the beginning of a new era of cooperation in the banking sector of the two countries and would take the economic relations between the two countries to new heights.
This he said while addressing the gathering on the occasion of formal opening ceremony of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) branches in Pakistan here at Aiwan-e-Sadr today.
According to the prepared text of speech, the President said that by opening bank in Pakistan our Chinese friends have shown confidence in the financial sector of Pakistan. He said that when the world was passing through a difficult economic phase and the investors were not readily coming forward to make investments, the initiative taken by ICBC was most commendable and we welcome it. He hoped that ICBC’s investment in Pakistan would prove to be profitable and the bank would play a prominent role in channelizing bilateral investments.
The President said that Government of Pakistan and the State Bank of Pakistan would extend every possible assistance to facilitate ICBC operations in Pakistan.
While appreciating tremendous economic progress of China, the President said that since becoming President he has visited China six times in order to learn from the Chinese experience of development. There is so much to learn from the Chinese experience, he remarked.
The President said that Pakistan has offered to set up special Chinese investment zones in Pakistan where special tax concessions will be offered. With captive power, tax concessions, low cost labour and access to a huge market the Chinese investors will find Pakistan most profitable place for investment, the President said. He hoped that more and more Chinese enterprises would enter Pakistan and the opening of the Chinese Bank branch in Pakistan would serve as an incentive for the Chinese Investors.
He said that several market based reforms aiming at supporting financial sector under a strong regulatory environment have improved Pakistan’s banking sector significantly.
The President also said that we also need to open Pakistani banks’ branches in China as well and hope that the Chinese friends would give it a thought.
Earlier, President of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Mr. Yang Kaisheng along with his delegation called on the President.
The Chinese delegation included Mr. Huang Xilian, Chinese Charge d’ Affairs, Mr. Wang Xiquan, Member of ICBC senior management, Mr. Hu Hao, Secretary ICBC Board of Director, and Mr. Xu Ke’en, General Manager ICBC Karachi branch.
Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Finance Minister, Mr. M. Salman Faruqui, Secretary General, Governor State Bank Mr. Shahid Hafeez Kardar, Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, MOS for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Khalil Ahmed, Ambassador-at-Large and other senior officials were also present from Pak side.
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