CPEC needs to be transparent
China has about three trillions dollars in foreign exchange reserves. Unlike other super rich countries it is diverting a considerable chunk of its resources to a vision of reviving the old Silk Road. For this it is building long-distance transport, communications, and energy infrastructure links with other parts of Asia and between Asia and Europe. While Eurasia is the world’s largest landmass, what stands in the way of taking inter-regional trade to the optimal limit is the miserable condition of the road and railway networks. It is by no means an altruistic pursuit on the part of Beijing. China’s increasingly competitive multinational companies are stepping up their search for other markets in Southeast, Central and South Asia, the Middle East, Russia, Africa, and Western Europe. What one expects is that everyone gets a share in the opportunities being created and none is a loser
What China seeks to do is by no means unrealistic. Taken together, Eurasia’s economy and population are both around 70 percent of the world. America’s share of the world output is now at around 16 percent – down from 22 percent in 1980. It has around 4.4 percent of the world’s population. Over the years Europe’s exports to Asia have gone up compared to those to the US.
CPEC is the flagship of China’s One Belt One Road initiative. It is all the more necessary for China to turn it into a model project. For this both China and Pakistan need to do more to address the opacity around the scheme. The PML-N government should make the details of the project public instead of keeping it a secret. Questions that continue to be dodged have to be answered. These include the ratio of Pakistani workers, technicians and administrators in various projects, association of Pakistani entrepreneurs with the implementation of the projects, guarantees of the ownership of the country’s land and its resources, ways to meet the challenges to the local industry, the overall costs of the project to the state and therefore the taxpayer. China is Pakistan’s all weather friend. Doubts and suspicions created by the government’s lack of transparency have be resolved through openness.