The Trajectory of Pakistan-China Economic and Commercial Cooperation and the Economic Corridor

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Abstract

This paper examines the current status of Pak-China commercial cooperation, the convergence of this cooperation towards the realisation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and the challenges and opportunities envisioned for this relationship. Constructivism is the best possible characterisation of the nature of Pakistan’s commercial relations with China, as these do not amount to a zero-sum regional game that would seek maximisation of power at the cost of their Asian neighbours. The current trajectory of Beijing-Islamabad relations transcends the geopolitical and geo-economic expediencies that could beckon prosperity and economic cooperation. Both countries have an interest in creating an enabling security, political, and trade environment for the envisioned growth and sustainability of their commercial relations. An environment of peace and stability will not happen in a vacuum, especially if other regional and extra-regional powers are not willing to tango. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, its territory shall set a course of economic cooperation rather than geopolitical competition. The CPEC is not only the pivot of Pakistan-China politico-economic relations, but holds similar promise for the region and beyond. In the aforementioned context, the paper explains multifarious economic and trade linkages between the two countries, and proffers recommendations for deepening commercial cooperation through optimisation of trade balance, export diversification, and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows.

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