DIT roundtable boosts UK business opportunities in Pakistan

International Trade Minister Greg Hands hosted a trade roundtable to help UK business secure contracts for Chinese investment in Pakistan.

China is supporting $51 billion of infrastructure development in Pakistan as part of the ‘China Pakistan Economic Corridor’ (CPEC) to develop key infrastructure projects like roads, railways and power stations which will modernise Pakistan’s economy and boost access to trade.

It is part of China’s broader ‘Belt and Road Initiative’ to replicate the ancient Silk Road trade routes with modern trading relationships and investments across Asia, the Middle East and into Europe.

Greg Hands met yesterday (4 April) with leading UK businesses, policy experts and senior representatives of the Chinese and Pakistani governments as the UK is poised to be a key partner of CPEC, ahead of a larger CPEC conference in Islamabad in May being hosted by the UK.

International Trade Minister Greg Hands said:

Britain is a country of free-trade influence and can be an important partner for China and Pakistan in the delivery of huge infrastructure projects that are being planned between the 2 countries.

As part of an outward looking Global Britain, we have a clear ambition to increase trade with both China and Pakistan and UK businesses are well placed to capitalise on the new opportunities the region.

Participants in the roundtable included the Chinese Ambassador, Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK and UK High Commissioner to Pakistan. As well as experts from CityUK, the Royal United Services Institute and the China Britain Business Council. Businesses including HSBC, Deloitte and Standard Chartered also discussed how they and other British firms can support the delivery of CPEC.

A joint statement in 2015 between the UK and Chinese governments committed both countries to support each other’s commercial co-operation in new markets, including the Belt and Road, and the $51 billion being invested by China in Pakistan presents big opportunities for UK businesses in the next few years.