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Pak refuses to allow free use of yuan for CPEC projects

Press Trust of India, Islamabad, Nov 21 2017, 15:35 IST
Wads of U.S. Dollar banknotes. Reuters file photo for representation.

Wads of U.S. Dollar banknotes. Reuters file photo for representation.

Pakistan has refused to allow free use of the Chinese yuan on the lines of the US dollar in the country as officials from the two nations met to decide on a long-term developmental plan under the USD 50 billion China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a media report said today.

The meeting of senior officials from Pakistan and China yesterday decided to formally move ahead despite hurdles and finance at least three special economic/industrial zones (SEZs) and some important rail, electricity and road projects.

The Dawn reported quoting a senior government official that Pakistan was not ready to allow the Chinese yuan (renminbi) for free use in Gwadar or its treatment on a par with the US dollar in the country and this was disappointing for the visiting Chinese officials.

He said the use of yuan for common use in any part of Pakistan or exchangeable like dollar has to be on a reciprocal basis.

The official also said the issue would be discussed again for some kind of institutional arrangement at the CPEC Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting today to be co-chaired by Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who is also minister for planning and development reforms, and Wang Xiaotao, vice chairman of National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China.

The official said the USD 3.5 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project was also unlikely to be cleared for inclusion in the CPEC at this stage because of some unsettled issues between the two countries. The project is likely to be dropped for now.

Informed sources said the two sides appeared to have settled issues relating to USD 8.5 billion Karachi-Lahore- Peshawar Railway Line.

The discussions were positive and the two sides are also expected to sign agreements on actively promoted power projects.

They also agreed to include road projects such as the much-talked-about western route between Gwadar, Nawabshah, Zhob-D I Khan-Hakla under CPEC besides Karakoram Highway (KKH) in Gilgit-Baltistan.

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