Conference Background and Aims:

The relationship between Pakistan and China is transforming. Over the past several decades, the two nations' friendship has been defined by collaboration in sectors such as transportation (Karakorum Highway), energy (C1/C2/C3/C4 and K2/K3 nuclear power plants), heavy industry (Heavy Mechanical and Electrical Complexes), defense (JF-17 fighter planes), and the deep-sea port of Gwadar. Now with the announcement of multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) program – which is part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's flagship 'One Belt, One Road' initiative – the bilateral relationship will also be covering economic, business to business, trade, people to people and social development aspects.

According to CPEC Long Term Plan 2016 "the corridor construction should fuel economic growth of Pakistan and is expected to speed it up by 1.5 percentage points on the original basis from 2016 to 2020. And another 1 percentage point from 2020 to 2030. From 2016 to 2020, the growth rate of China-Pakistan trade will reach 24% and bilateral direct investment being 25%; from 2020 to 2030. The speed of trade growth should be 16% and that of bilateral direct investment will be 20%. Industrial added value should exceed by 1.5 percentage points. A total number of 500,000 to 800,000 new jobs will be created. The length of newly built or upgraded roads and railways should reach 3,871 km and 1,529.07 km respectively. Power generated by newly built sources will reach 19.785 million kW, and length of optical fiber cable will reach 2,084 km".

CPEC Route

The benefits for Pakistan are modernization of infrastructure and breaking critical bottlenecks in infrastructure which constrain long-term growth and development. To up-grade the development effort involving the provincial governments, (public and private) Chinese aid and investment will connect major economic regions of Pakistan to reduce regional economic development gaps, promote exports of goods and services, growth in industrial production and employment; better integration with more complex global value chains; and strengthen and form new industry clusters. Hence, it could result in a high growth trajectory, would ensure food, water and energy security and improve the quality of life of the people and promote peace and stability in the region. (According to Planning Commission report 2016).

To understand and prepare ourselves for post CPEC early harvest projects after 2020 is the most essential task. CPEC long term plan has identified several growth opportunities and detailed planning areas for Pakistani policy makers, academicians and business planners. If we want better outcomes for Pakistan and China, we need to do very thoughtful and scientific research to first understand these challenges and develop collaborative strategies to manage these CPEC related opportunities and issues. There has to be very clear CPEC and China engagement strategy at national, province and city levels. This conference is a small attempt to start the process of understanding and explaining future potential of CPEC related projects and development.