An oilseeds extraction plant near CPEC’s flagship Rashakai SEZ is being established with a hefty amount of Rs. 600 million. This will be on the background of rising demand for vegetable oils in China and concessions granted to Pakistani exporters under the China-Pakistan Free Trade Agreement-II. A report published by Gwadar Pro on Tuesday says China has eliminated tariffs on 313 major export items from Pakistan under the upgraded FTA, which also includes various seed oils. The plant is being set up by Engineer Syed Mehmood. The first-of-its-kind facility in KP shows how big opportunities have been brought about by the China-driven investment to Pakistan’s smallest and second-most deprived province. The plant will be the second one of its nature in Pakistan, an official said. Syed Mehmood told Gwadar Pro that the $4 million plant will have a capacity to extract 300 tones of oil per day from oilseeds including soybean, palm, canola, olive, or sunflower. “At this stage, we have Afghanistan and Central Asian republics as our export targets. However, in the long run, we are eyeing the enormous Chinese market for our products,” the investor said. “We also have a plan to invest in Rashakai SEZ to further expand our production capacity after a sustainable export channel is established with China,” he said. Syed Mehmood said that initially, they will rely on imported raw soybean and other oilseeds as the domestic production will not be sufficient to withstand their demand. “However, the locally-grown soybean and olives will greatly benefit us in terms of competitiveness,” he said. The Pakistani government is robustly promoting olives plantation in the country, especially in KP province. Nowshera, where the plant is being established, has been declared as the most suitable region for olives, where Prime Minister Imran Khan launched a campaign for olive cultivation in March. According to the data of the General Administration of Customs, China’s olive oil imports in 2019 were 53,699 tons, up 35.64% year on year, China Economic Net (CEN) earlier reported. In an article published in CEN, Cheng Xizhong, Visiting Professor at Southwest University of Political Science and Law, stressed that technical assistance in olive cultivation and olive oil production should be the focus of China-Pakistan agricultural cooperation under the second phase of CPEC given the enormous potential of Pakistan. A media’s report, quoting Director of KP olive trees project Ahmed Syed, stated that over 4.4 million hectares of land were available for olive plantation in Pakistan. Ahmed said that Spain was producing about 45% of the world’s total edible oil from olive cultivation on only 2.6 million hectares of land. China has also offered assistance to Pakistan in the cultivation of soybean. The CEN hosted an online event on agricultural cooperation in mid-March between the two Iron Brothers, which had a full session on soybean cultivation. China’s soybean imports surpassed 100 million tonnes during 2020, according to a report of Global Times, which cited Customs’ data. Iqbal Sarwar, an official of KP Economic Zones Development and in charge of the export processing zone where the Aziz Oils and Solvents Pvt. Ltd. is being established, said that the plant will also process oilseeds for several other products.