Economy

An agreement between China and Pakistan to establish a free zone

Quetta (INA) - Officials said: The Pakistani state of Balochistan will sign an agreement on Wednesday granting China, in a forty-year lease, hundreds of hectares to establish a free zone around the deep-water port of Gwadar. This port is a strategic crossing point that is supposed to allow Chinese exports to reach large Middle Eastern markets more quickly. The agreement on leasing these lands for forty years, which will be signed today, Wednesday, in Gwadar by the Balochistan authorities, relates to 923 hectares of tax-exempt land. It falls within the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, a major investment project worth $46 billion that aims to connect western China with the Arabian Sea through the port of Gwadar, which is close to the strait through which a large portion of crude oil production in the Middle East passes. These lands will be managed by the Chinese General Corporation China Overseas Port Holding Company. An official in the Pakistani state said on Tuesday: The contract is supposed to allow China to build a logistics area and an airport. The French Press Agency quoted the Minister in charge of Balochistan, Abdul Malik Baloch, as saying: China asked us to grant it land to build an export processing area and a modern international airport in Gwadar. China is also establishing a road network to connect the airport and port area. Explaining: The government will provide these lands to it. Construction work on the international airport in Godard is expected to begin in the coming months. Pakistan will allocate a special security force consisting of ten thousand to 25 thousand men to protect the port. (End) AM/H AM/AM

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