Chinese Premier Jiabao heads to Pakistan to boost trade

Written by: Manoj Kumar Ramesh
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New Delhi/Islamabad, Dec. 17 (ANI): Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao left for Pakistan on Friday for a three-day visit aimed at boosting trade and investment by finalizing 20 billion dollars worth of deals.

Accompanied by a huge business delegation, Premier Wen will be the first Chinese head of government to visit the nuclear-armed country in the last five years.

According to The Telegraph, Pakistan has said that China has already agreed to development projects worth 13.2 billion dollars in energy, agriculture, infrastructure and health, and wants trade to climb from seven billion to 18 billion dollars in five years.

"Up to 20 billion dollars worth of projects with Chinese help have been completed in Pakistan," a Pakistani government official said.

"Work on projects worth 14 billion dollars is continuing at present, while projects of another 20 billion dollars will be signed between the two sides during the visit," he added.

Wen Jiabao's three-day visit is expected to focus on focus on investment and bilateral trade.

The Chinese Premier is expected to hold wide-ranging discussions with the Pakistani leadership and the two nations are expected to ink several agreements and Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs).

Earlier this month, Pakistan's Ambassador to China Masood Khan had said that trade between the two nations could exceed the 2015 bilateral trade volume target of 15 billion US dollars.

He told China's state-run Xinhua news agency that total trade in the first nine months of 2010 had reached 6.2 billion US dollars, a 29-percent rise from the same period last year.

He said that Pakistan needed China's help in the agriculture, energy, finance, banking and science and technology sectors.

During his visit, Premier Wen is scheduled to address a joint session of Pakistan's Parliament, inaugurate the Pakistan-China Friendship Center and launch a new energy cooperation mechanism.

On Thursday, the Chinese Premier met Indian Vice President Hamid Ansari.

They discussed a range of issues during their brief meeting.

Later, he also called on Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.

He reiterated that India and China are not rivals and there is room in the world for both powers to develop.

China is now India's largest trade partner and two-way trade reached 60 billion dollars this year, up from 13.6 billion dollars in 2004. (ANI)

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