SOAS University of London

Department of Development Studies

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Progress, Opportunities and Perils

Dr Tayyab Safdar (University of Cambridge, UK)

Date: 28 January 2020Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 28 January 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Venue: Russell Square: College Buildings Room: Djam Lecture Theatre (DLT)

Type of Event: Seminar

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The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor

The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) continues to evolve and expand, and to date China has signed 197 documents on BRI cooperation with 137 countries and 30 international organisations. Under the umbrella of the BRI, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been heralded as a significant 'pilot project' by Chinese as well as Pakistani policymakers. Of the five constituent Economic Corridors of the Belt, CPEC is the only bilateral corridor and is at an advanced stage of construction, with multiple projects in the energy and transport sectors either completed or in advanced stages of construction. This paper seeks to unpack what it means for CPEC to be the pilot project of the BRI. It does so by looking at the progress of CPEC-related projects in the transport and energy sector as well as the expansion of cooperation in other areas as CPEC enters its second phase. Using primary evidence, the paper also looks at the economic and political implications of increasing Chinese investment in Pakistan. Lastly, as cooperation between the two countries evolves, the paper looks at whether developing countries like Pakistan can take advantage of the deeper interaction with Chinese policymakers and firms. It is especially important for developing countries that seek to use Chinese investment and know-how to effect structural change in the economy, especially as the state’s capacity to implement an activist industrial policy has been hollowed out under decades of neoliberal reforms.  

Tayyab Safdar is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at the Centre of Development Studies, University of Cambridge, where he completed his PhD on the effects of economic globalisation on agro-industrial value chains in developing countries. His current research explores the economic and political dimensions of increasing Chinese investment in host countries that are a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Before joining the Centre of Development Studies, Tayyab was an LSE Fellow at the Department of International Development, London School of Economics. 

Organiser: Feyzi Ismail (