China Economic Review

Pakistan has second thoughts on Chinese BRI investment

The government of Pakistan is looking to renegotiate a string of investment projects spearheaded by China under Beijing’s Belt and Road Initiative, calling the deals unfair and skewed towards Chinese interests.

The projects in question, many of which were inked over a decade ago by the previous Pakistani administration, belong to a $62 billion package of agreements known as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor plan – an important part of China’s proposed new Silk Road linking Asia and Europe.

“Chinese companies received tax breaks, many breaks, and have an undue advantage in Pakistan; this is one of the things we’re looking at because it’s not fair that Pakistan companies should be disadvantaged,” Pakistani commerce official Adbul Razak Dawood told the Financial Times.

“The previous government did a bad job negotiation with China on CPEC,” Dawood added.

China’s chief diplomat, Wang Yi, rebutted claims that the deals would be pernicious to Pakistani interests but suggested that Beijing would engage in renegotiation. “CPEC has not inflicted a debt burden on Pakistan,” he said. “When these projects get completed and enter into operation, they will unleash huge economic benefits.”