Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Pakistanis believe China's CPEC is only benefiting Beijing growth story

Pakistanis believe China's CPEC is only benefiting Beijing growth story
Aug 02, 2017 03:42 PM

China's One Belt,One Road initiative that includes China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is only benefiting the economic growth story of China and resources of Pakistan are just being exploited by Chinese.

High-altitude border outpost called Tashkurgan is at the geographic heart of Beijing's plans to build a major trade artery of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting Kashgar to the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar.

But the residents of Pakistan claimed that promises made by Chinese are hollow and it is using every resources and investing billions of dollars on infrastructure projects to expand Beijing's growth story, said an editorial in Express Tribune highlighting the ground realities of the China's CPEC in Pakistan.

The China-Pakistan Friendship Highway runs over 1,300 kilometres from the far western Chinese city of Kashgar through the world's highest mountain pass and across the border.

"China says our friendship is as high as the Himalayas and as deep as the sea, but it has no heart," said Pakistani businessman Murad Shah, as he tended his shop in Tashkurgan, 120 kilometres from the mountain pass where trucks line up to cross between China's vast Xinjiang region and Pakistan. "There is no benefit for Pakistan. It's all about expanding China's growth," Shah said.

Tashkurgan project is a crown jewel of China's One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative, a massive global infrastructure programme to revive the ancient Silk Road and connect Chinese companies to new markets around the world.

Pakistan's exports to China fell by almost eight per cent in the second half of 2016, while imports jumped by almost 29 per cent. In May, Pakistan had accused China of flooding its market with cut rate steel and threatened to respond with high tariffs, the editorial stated.

"There are all of these hopes and dreams about Pakistan exports. But if you're connecting with China, what are you going to be exporting?, editorial quoted Jonathan Hillman, a fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington as saying.

Quoting a Pakistani businessmen in Xinjiang, the editorial said, "CPEC is not benefiting us, as Chinese officials demand high tariff for imported Pakistani goods but less for Chinese exports."

In 2013, Beijing and Islamabad signed agreements worth $46 billion to build transport and energy infrastructure along the corridor, and China has upgraded the Karakoram Highway.

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