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Leading global law firm Herbert Smith Freehills has advised China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) on a complex PPP agreement for a new special economic zone in Pakistan.

The agreement was one of a number signed during China-Pakistan ministerial meetings in Beijing last weekend, following the annual Belt and Road Forum. China's premier Li Keqiang and Pakistan's prime minister Imran Khan witnessed the signing of the agreement by CRBC Chairman Lu Shan and Saeed Ahmad Khan, CEO of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zones Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC).

The agreement between CRBC and KPEZDMC establishes the new Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Pakistan's northwestern province, and forms part of the Belt and Road's China Pakistan Economic Corridor.

"This was a complex and bespoke project – it's the first industrial zone in the province and will be developed under the laws governing both Pakistan's special economic zone regime and its provincial PPP regime," said partner Ellen Zhang.

Ellen led the team advising CRBC on the structure of the project and its agreements, including negotiations with the Pakistan and provincial governments.

"We worked closely with local counsel and government representatives to blend their solutions to local land law issues with our experience of PPP and SEZ projects in Asia and other regions," said Ellen.

Following this agreement, the new project is expected to break ground in May, creating a special industrial zone for industries and export.

Ellen was assisted by senior associate Sunday Wang and associate Andrew Lin on the design, drafting and negotiation of the agreement package.

More information is available on the CRBC website.

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Sally Greig

Sally Greig, Head of Communications, Asia

Hong Kong