CPEC: Separating Facts From Fiction (Urdu)

Is China using China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to colonize Pakistan just as the British East India company colonized India centuries earlier?



Will Pakistan be caught in a massive Chinese debt trap and eventually become China's colony? What are the terms of Chinese financing and investments in CPEC projects in Pakistan?

Are Pakistanis required to pay exorbitant interest rates on infrastructure loans and unreasonably high return on equity on power plant investments?

Is there an IBM-like organized campaign of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) being waged by CPEC's detractors to convince Pakistanis that it's a zero sum game in which China's gain is Pakistan's loss?

Is there no possibility of win-win in CPEC for both China and Pakistan?

Azad Labon Ke Saath host Faraz Darvesh discusses these questions in Urdu with Riaz Haq (www.riazhaq.com)

https://youtu.be/YZzea9OsC2k




Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Campaign of Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt Against CPEC

CPEC Financing: Is China Ripping Off Pakistan?

CPEC Transforming Least Developed Parts of Pakistan

Pakistan Rising or Falling? Reality vs Perception

Pakistan Generating Positive Vibes at Davos 2018

CPEC to Create Over 2 Million Jobs in Pakistan

Pakistan's $20 Billion Tourism Industry Boom

Home Appliance Ownership in Pakistani Households

Riaz Haq's YouTube Channel

PakAlumni Social Network

Comments

Riaz Haq said…
AidData’s new dataset of 13,427 Chinese development projects worth $843 billion reveals major increase in ‘hidden debt’ and Belt and Road Initiative implementation problems

https://www.aiddata.org/blog/aiddatas-new-dataset-of-13-427-chinese-development-projects-worth-843-billion-reveals-major-increase-in-hidden-debt-and-belt-and-road-initiative-implementation-problems

The AidData report, Banking on the Belt and Road, offers a bird’s-eye view of China’s geo-economic strategy before and after the introduction of the BRI in 2013. It details how spending patterns, debt levels, and project implementation problems have changed over time, leveraging insights from a uniquely granular dataset that captures 13,427 projects across 165 countries worth $843 billion. These projects were financed by more than 300 Chinese government institutions and state-owned entities. The new 2.0 Global Chinese Development Finance Dataset covers projects approved between 2000 and 2017 and implemented between 2000 and 2021. It is the most comprehensive dataset of its kind.

“China has quickly established itself as the financier of first resort for many low-income and middle-income countries, but its international lending and grant-giving activities remain shrouded in secrecy,” said Ammar A. Malik, a Senior Research Scientist at AidData and co-author of Banking on the Belt and Road. “Beijing’s reluctance to disclose detailed information about its overseas development finance portfolio has made it difficult for low-income and middle-income countries to objectively weigh the costs and benefits of participating in the BRI. It has also made it challenging for bilateral aid agencies and multilateral development banks to determine how they can compete—or coordinate and collaborate—with China to address issues of global concern.”
----------------

“China will soon face higher levels of competition in the global infrastructure finance market due to the Build Back Better World Initiative and the E.U.’s recently announced Global Gateway Initiative,” said Parks. “As we enter this new era of strategic rivalry, it will be more important than ever that G7, Chinese, and host country policymakers rely on hard evidence rather than opinions or conjecture.”
Riaz Haq said…
Phase-II of CPEC, flagship BRI project, much broader in scope: Pakistan Ambassador to China
Phase-II much broader in scope: Ambassador


https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202201/1246043.shtml


GT: The first brick of the CPEC was laid in 2013, it has been nine years, can you comment on the current status of CPEC construction efforts? Tackling the energy shortage was frequently mentioned in the earlier years of the CPEC, how is the situation now?

Haque: The CPEC marks a new phase in Pakistan-China relations by placing economic cooperation and connectivity at the center of bilateral agenda. Being the flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it aims to enhance connectivity and trade linkages between Pakistan, China and the region through a network of roads, rail, fiber optic, energy pipelines, industrial clusters and Special Economic Zones.

In its first phase, the CPEC has helped us develop major infrastructure and address our essential energy needs. The energy projects which have already been completed include 1,320 megaWatt (MW) capacity coal-fired power plants in Sahiwal (Punjab), Port Qasim (Karachi) and Hub (Balochistan); 660MW Engro Thar coal power project; 1,000MW Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur (400MW project is complete while 600MW is under-implementation), and some smaller wind & solar energy projects. A mega, 878-kilometer long, Matiari to Lahore ±660 KV HVDC Transmission Line project has also been completed with the capacity to evacuate 4,000 MW electricity.

It has also upgraded Pakistan's national and international highway network to provide more reliable Pakistan-China connectivity across the Karakoram Mountains and smoother inland communications. The CPEC investment and its spin-off effects have also generated thousands of jobs.

GT: How do you see the current challenges and opportunities facing the CPEC in 2022? What's there to be built in the second phase?

Haque: It is a matter of great satisfaction that despite the challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic in the last two years, the CPEC cooperation and work on all projects continued unhindered. The recently held 10th meeting of the Joint Cooperation Committee reviewed wide-ranging cooperation under the CPEC framework and identified more areas of cooperation including establishment of a Joint Working Group on Information Technology and Industry, which is expected to support high-quality development of the CPEC as envisioned by the leadership of the two countries.

While the first phase of CPEC was mainly focused on infrastructure and energy projects to cater to the immediate needs, the high-quality CPEC phase-II is much broader in scope and focuses on industrial relocation, agricultural modernization, science and technology cooperation, job creation and our people's socio-economic well-being. We are also making rapid progress on the development of the Gwadar Port and Free Trade Zone, which would promote regional connectivity and economic integration.

GT: What is the current level of third-party participation in the construction of the CPEC?

Haque: As the CPEC aims to promote regional integration and win-win cooperation, Pakistan and China have agreed to welcome and encourage high-quality investments and introduction of advanced technologies and expertise in the CPEC from third-party partners who are ready to work with us for common development.

The two countries are jointly working to finalize a mechanism for third-party cooperation under the CPEC framework before formally processing such requests.



GT: Regional cooperation is a key word for 2022 and BRI construction is also progressing rapidly. How do you see Pakistan's and CPEC's role in this direction?

Haque: Pakistan is one of the earliest supporters and participants of the BRI. We emphatically endorse the spirit and philosophy of the BRI, which seeks to transcend national boundaries and lay bridges for a win-win cooperation and closer economic integration for a shared future.

Riaz Haq said…
ADB study stresses economic corridor development to transform Pakistan's economy

https://www.dawn.com/news/1672882


https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/768396/economic-corridor-development-pakistan.pdf

Pakistan has the potential of becoming a hub of economic activity for Central, South and West Asian countries if it follows the model of economic corridor development (ECD), the Asian Development Bank said in a study released on Wednesday.

The ADB study, titled "Economic Corridor Development in Pakistan: Concept, Framework, and Case Studies", examined how Pakistan could address economic challenges through ECD.

In the foreword, ADB Central and West Asia Department Director General Eugene Zhukov noted that Pakistan had not yet been able to attain a sustained growth path "to move beyond its historic lacklustre and stop-and-go pattern, characterised by 'booms and busts' every three to four years".

"Through market reforms, Pakistan needs to transform its economy into an export-led growth trajectory. In addition to improving the economy’s competitiveness and productivity with a vibrant private sector, it is critical to attracting domestic and foreign investments to support this transformation," he said.


The official went on to say that Pakistan had already adopted and implemented an ECD-focused strategy as part of its core development and growth framework.

"ECD can be one of the most credible ways to help the government achieve its socio-economic objectives of reaching the upper-middle-income status by 2025," Zhukov said.

However, he cautioned that private sector development and a fair and efficient tax system were also required for transforming the economy to export-led growth.

Defining ECD, the study said that it aimed to promote economic growth by connecting different economic agents along defined geographic areas.

When implemented successfully, ECD supports economies of scale and scope and induces economic transformation and diversification through foreign direct investment.

"By enhancing domestic connectivity and linking lagging regions [including secondary cities] with urban growth centres, ECD can help Pakistan become a hub of economic activity for Central, South, and West Asian countries," the study said.

It stated that the country could "revitalise" its economic growth through facilitating economic centres by bolstering them with an efficient transport network based on "robust infrastructure and supported by a business-enabling policy framework".

However, it pointed out that Pakistan currently lacked the administrative machinery for effectively managing ECD.

"Its complex tax administration and compliance requirements impede growth and expansion of private investment, project management and implementation are weak, and a coherent regulatory framework for land use and urban development is lacking."

The study proposed several recommendations which could enable Pakistan to tackle these challenges:

Empowering a central corridor planning and development agency to oversee the overall development and management of ECD.
Strengthening an overall policy framework for ECD, including streamlining policies for transport, logistics, public-private partnerships, land use, zoning regulations, business regulatory framework and taxation regimes.
Providing institutional support for skills development to align labour force skills with industry needs.
Link current industrial clusters and urban areas with new industrial hubs and urban centres through infrastructure networks.
Seeking ways to channel partial resources from overseas Pakistanis into profitable investment ventures to fund ECD-related projects.
The study also identified four routes that could be used for a pilot ECD programme: M4 Motorway linking Faisalabad and Multan, N70 (national highway) connecting Multan and Killa Saifullah, N50 (national highway) linking Dera Ismail Khan and Kachlak, and the Hazara Motorway (E35 Expressway) from Islamabad to Mansehra.
Riaz Haq said…
ADB study stresses economic corridor development to transform Pakistan's economy

https://www.dawn.com/news/1672882


https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/768396/economic-corridor-development-pakistan.pdf


Explaining the rationale behind selecting the routes, the study said: "[They] offer real untapped economic potential with opportunities to diversify; good development synergy for linking production networks especially small and medium-sized enterprises with markets and other economic agents; close links to the CPEC (China-Pakistan Economic Corridor) and Carec (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation) routes; and favourable prospects for connecting and realising the economic potential of underdeveloped regions in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa."

Maximising CPEC benefits
The study also touched upon CPEC and said that it could pull off a number of economic objectives if it was implemented successfully.

However, it cautioned that CPEC alone could not improve the economy and would need to be supported by structural reforms to unleash its true potential.

The ADB report suggested four policy recommendations to fully benefit from CPEC.

Undertaking structural reforms to facilitate private sector development.
Broadening the tax base to make use of the country's tax revenue potential and improve fairness of tax collection.
Utilising transport infrastructure under CPEC to maximise investment return and turn it into a multilateral initiative.
Expediting development of nine special economic zones planned along CPEC routes.

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