China again declines to reveal details of financial assistance to Pakistan

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After previously saying his country was in urgent need of $12bn to rebalance the economy, Finance Minister Asad Umar said on Tuesday "Pakistan's immediate balance of payment crisis is over" thanks to the help received by China and Saudi Arabia.

As per details, the two sides noted with satisfaction that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor's first stage, which comprised of infrastructure and energy sector improvements, has nearly been completed.

About the outcome of Khan's visit, Hua said, "we believe his visit is very successful".

"Pakistan's exports have remained on a declining trajectory for nearly five years before starting recovery last year. The country recorded $37 billion trade deficit, the highest-ever, in the last fiscal year, almost half of which is because of the trade imbalance with China", he said during the conference.

Dawood further said that after the Chinese facility, "now the challenge is to find out what goods could be exported to China and the relevant authorities from both sides will now decide how much textile, leather and other goods could be exported" to fully utilise the facility.

Pakistan's foreign reserves have plunged 42 percent since the start of the year and now stand at about $8 billion, or less than two months of import cover.

According to the Ministry's spokesperson Hua Chunying, a number of achievements were made during the visit. While earlier reports said that China had assured a sum of $6 billion, some media reports later quoted senior Chinese officials as saying that "more talks" would be needed for finalising the aid. "A relationship that has been operating at a high level and we have been offering our assistance to Pakistan in the best of our capacity".

A Pakistani delegation in Beijing is holding talks with Chinese officials today to finalise modalities for economic cooperation, Radio Pakistan reported.

Speaking on the occasion, Planning Minister Bakhtyar gave an update on CPEC. The two sides agreed to firmly advance the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), set up the task force on social and livelihood projects to constantly enrich and expand the CPEC.

During the visit, Pakistan and China signed 15 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for bilateral cooperation in poverty alleviation, agriculture, industrial sectors, forestry, Earth science, technical training and transfer of electronics.

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