Sino-Pak relations: Half-baked reforms a threat to stability

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ISLAMABAD: Instability is always the result of half-baked reforms and Pakistan should learn from China’s success story including a balance between roles of government and market, says Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms.

He was speaking at the Planning Commission here on Wednesday where China’s National Development and Reform Commission vice chairman also delivered a lecture.

Iqbal said Pakistan needed China’s assistance in development not only in terms of financial and technical parameters but also in learning successful reforms management.

The Planning Commission looked forward to a strong partnership with the National Development and Reform Commission of China for the development of Pakistan, he said.

Iqbal also underlined the need for developing and engaging human resources and natural resources and stressed that Pakistan needed to learn from the world’s best practices.

National Development and Reform Commission Vice Chairman Zhang Xiaoqiang ascribed China’s economic success to a right mix of socialist and capitalist policies. Beijing is now aiming to improve efficiency and quality of products following astonishing economic development for years, he said.

Sharing the success story of his nation during the lecture, Xiaoqiang said the ground for economic development was laid by political stability and China maintained a balance between socialist and market economy.

He stressed that adherence to the right set of reforms with flexibility of changing policies according to the requirements helped China sustain continuous growth. China also focused on social justice and removed structural obstacles to growth.

He told the audience that individual and private businesses were contributing greatly and were important components of the socialist economic model. In recent years, new regulations aimed at facilitating private businesses have been introduced.

Since opening up, Chinese government’s intervention in the market has been on the decline and private sector’s contribution is increasing.

Xiaoqiang highlighted the development milestones and progress achieved over the last 34 years. After opening up, Beijing has made remarkable progress in economic development. Average economic growth has increased to 9.8% and the size of gross domestic product (GDP) has grown to $8.2 trillion, second only to the United States.

China has focused on a national agenda for economic development, which remains the central focus point. “Development is progress and stability is a pre-condition for development,” and without stability, nothing can be achieved, he said.

However, according to Xiaoqiang, despite being the second largest economy of the world, China’s per capita income was very low, which needed to be increased.

He said attention was also paid to equitable rural-urban development, but still called it a major policy challenge for the socialist country.

He said One-China was opening up to the world and making positive contributions to the global economy. After achieving competitiveness, he said, the next big challenge would be to improve quality and efficiency as the luxury of abundant raw material was no more there.

China is also attaching importance to increasing the size of its services sector besides encouraging foreign investment.

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