Pakistan

CPEC: Is there cause for alarm?

Mar 15, 2017
A NUMBER of articles in the past week have created some undue anxiety about the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Let us put it in plain English at the outset: CPEC is not another East India Company. That comparison is specious and entirely unhelpful, even if some find it useful purely as a metaphor.
 
There are two reasons why the comparison is unhelpful. First, the East India Company had an element of force, something totally absent in the present case. Second, the East India Company gradually shed its trading activity and acquired governance responsibilities, taking on the administration of land revenue and justice, as well as education and the maintenance of an armed force. CPEC is moving in an entirely different direction.
 
The only area where the comparison might work is in the extraction of a surplus from Pakistan and its transmittal to China. But, even here, it must be kept in mind that the surplus is not being extracted through the use of force or from land revenue (or taxation in the present case), but purely from debt servicing and the repatriation of profits. All foreign investment involves these elements, not just the one coming from China. So at the same time that we are hearing about the arrival of Chinese investment under CPEC, we also have auto makers entering the Pakistani market from Korea and Europe, as well as a Dutch company acquiring stakes in the food sector. This is not necessarily a ‘creeping colonisation’.
 
Read more at: https://www.dawn.com/news/1320670/cpec-is-there-cause-for-alarm
 

Dawn, March 16, 2017

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