The Acting Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, Alice Wells has warned Pakistan of the daunting effect of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), urging Pakistan to shift to the US business model instead.
Wells said this while addressing a conference at Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington on Thursday, adding that the mega infrastructure project has been designed to benefit only China and it will take a toll on Pakistan’s economy which will hamper Imran Khan’s reforms agenda.
She further said that with the bulk of payments due in the next 4-6 years and that the corridor is not about aid.
Even if loan payments are deferred, they are going to continue to hang over Pakistan’s economic development potential, hamstringing Prime Minister [Imran] Khan’s reform agenda.
Part of the wider $1 trillion ‘Belt and Road’ initiative, the CPEC is driven by non-concessionary loans and relies heavily on Chinese materials and labor despite alarming levels of unemployment in Pakistan.
Wells told the audience that the US investment via private firms and grants can uplift Pakistan’s economy.
There is a different model. Worldwide we see that U.S. companies bring more than just capital; they bring values, processes, and expertise that build the capacities of local economies.