The second phase of construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will focus on the industrial and agricultural cooperation, construction of the Gwadar Port and the socio-economic development, of which 27 new projects will be launched during the year.
During Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China, the relevant departments of the two countries signed a series of documents, paving way for the second phase of the corridor’s construction, Cheng Xizhong, professor at the Southwest University of Political Science and Law, told The Overseas Network in Beijing.
During the meeting, leaders of the two countries pointed out direction for the next phase of the construction of the economic corridor, stressing that the corridor should be turned into a high-quality demonstration project to build the Belt Road Initiative. The corridor, jointly established by the two countries, is the flagship project of the Belt Road Initiative.
After more than four years of joint efforts, the first phase of the investment of $19 billion in 22 projects have been completed and put into operation, and some are nearing completion. These major projects, mainly related to energy and transport infrastructure, were alleviated by long-standing power supply shortage and partially created a smooth highway network, thus setting the stage for a rapid track for socio-economic development.
Cheng Xizhong, also a senior research fellow of the Chahar Institute, said that it is foreseeable that the scope of the corridor construction will continue to expand and the pace will continue to accelerate, especially as China will actively help Pakistan to carry out projects in the field of people’s livelihood.
Over the years, he said that Pakistan has experienced occasional financial crises, mainly caused by foreign exchange shortages. The continued development of the economic corridor will gradually improve Pakistan’s fiscal position. For example, the Bin Qasim Port coal-fired power station is a priority implementation project which has contributed $167 million to the government’s tax revenue in the past year or so.
Experts estimated that the first phase of 22 projects are fully completed and operational, the government’s tax contribution is likely to reach nearly $10 billion. With the second phase of the industrial parks and special economic zones, it is believed that more and more governments and enterprises will recognize the huge potential investment value of Pakistan.
In recent times, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, as well as the US, Germany, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and other major investment countries in the world’s enterprises, have sent a mission to Pakistan, is actively considering investment in Pakistan’s industrial parks and special economic zones to build factories, he said.
Cheng Xizhong said that once advanced industrial production lines are in Pakistan, the country will gradually move towards industrialization and modernization, thereby enhancing Pakistan’s export capacity for industrial products, at which time Pakistan’s foreign exchange earnings will increase substantially and the financial situation will be fundamentally improved.
It is worth noting that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is an open project that welcomes the active participation of third parties in investment and construction, as well as extending to the region. If regional countries work together to build the South Asia Corridor, all-region countries will benefit and the region as a whole will become increasingly prosperous and strong.
With a combined population of about three billion, accounting for about 40 percent of the world’s population, China and South Asian countries have developed and made great contributions to the world. Cheng Xizhong said that interests, development and destiny of Pakistan and China are highly integrated.
He said that cooperation between Pakistan and China in building an economic corridor and developing pragmatic cooperation is not only in the common interest of the two friendly nations, but also conducive to promoting regional development, changing the backward face of the region and safeguarding peace and stability.