US keen to invest in economic corridor projects

Published: October 16, 2015
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USAID director says China-Pakistan corridor is in everybody’s interest. PHOTO: FILE

USAID director says China-Pakistan corridor is in everybody’s interest. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

In a major development, the United States has expressed interest in investing in energy projects under the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to bring stability and prosperity to the region.

“If the corridor proceeds according to plan, it will be in the interest of Pakistan, China and the US as well. We support the corridor,” said USAID-Pakistan Mission Director John Groarke while talking to a group of journalists on Thursday.

Pakistan and China had signed an agreement on April 20 this year to commence work on CPEC development projects worth over $46 billion, which comes to roughly 20 per cent of Pakistan’s annual GDP.

The corridor aims to connect Gwadar port in Balochistan to China’s Xinjiang region via a network of highways, railways and pipelines spread over 3,000km. Work on several sections has already started but the entire project is expected to take several years to complete.

“While Pakistan would benefit immensely from the corridor, the USAID will have a possibility of investing in the energy sector if everything moves in the direction the Chinese are pursuing,” he said.

Read: US companies show interest in Pakistan

The top priority of the US, Groarke said, is to invest in the energy sector and the rehabilitation of people displaced owing to floods, earthquake and military operations.

Wary of the Chinese getting strategic access to the Arabian Sea and its presence in the region, the US has reportedly tried several times to persuade Pakistan against involving China in its development process.

Groarke believed the power sector is moving on the right track and this is the reason power distribution companies are earning additional revenue. He, however, stressed that power consumers should pay the full cost of electricity. Electricity is highly subsidised in Pakistan.

“Privatisation is the best solution for a viable energy sector,” the USAID country head said. “The US government is committed to helping Pakistan enhance its power generation.”

Responding to a question, he said the US had already invested in making the technical, financial and environmental feasibilities of Diamer-Bhasha dam. The dam is likely to cost around $14 billion with the bulk of funding coming in primarily from the private sector and multilateral donors like Asian Development Bank.

About financing coal-based power plants in Pakistan, Groarke said the US had a policy not to invest in coal-based power generation. “Our policy is to invest in renewable energy like solar and more importantly energy conservation,” he added.

Read: CPEC projects worth $11b cannot be completed in two years: IPR

He also said the US supported the Pakistani government’s efforts to increase tax revenue collection.

The USAID official said the US was also investing in the health sector especially in Sindh. “We have provided scholarships to 7,000 students in Pakistani schools,” he said, adding that Washington wanted more enrolment of children in schools.

Appreciating the government’s recent investments in the education sector, Groarke said the prime minister’s decision to invest 4 per cent of the GDP in education reflected the priorities of his government.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 16th, 2015.

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Reader Comments (15)

  • Neutral
    Oct 16, 2015 - 8:56AM

    I appreciate Pakistan’s (Especially military’s) strict policy to complete this corridor at any cost. When US sees it’s impossible to restrain Pakistan “Go with the flow” is their policy. One more prospect is that interest of US will somehow will minimize the interference of our neighbors. Recommend

  • Raj - USA
    Oct 16, 2015 - 9:38AM

    Everything I have been saying on CPEC is being proved correct. More is to come. China will never allow US to invest in CPCE. Not only China, but also Nawaz Sharif, Shabaz Sharif, Raheel Sharif, Zardari and various other political leaders will not allow US to invest in CPEC because they all are interested in selling off Pakistan, piece by piece, to China and pocketing the bribes from China. If US is allowed to invest, China will not get 18.5% guaranteed return annually for 45 years. China will not invest a penny if it does not get Gawadar exclusively for itself. China will not allow Pakistanis and even Pakistan’s army to enter Gawadar and within a perimeter of hundreds of miles from the port. If Pakistan’s political parties and army wants to give away Gawadar to China, US and India and possibly even Iran and Arabs will not allow it to happen.Recommend

  • Pakistan
    Oct 16, 2015 - 9:46AM

    Corridor comes later; it is Gawadar which is mouth watering for US. No current leader has the character to appreciate the foresight of a leader of FM Ayub Khan’s calibre who purchased Gawadar from Oman in early sixties. Today our leaders are more akin to selling everything off.Recommend

  • Oct 16, 2015 - 9:58AM

    @Raj – USA: Please listen to Steven Tyler’s song, “Dream On.” Have a nice day dreaming but remember you have work to do, so get on with your work and stop counting stars in the daylight. Have a nice day.Recommend

  • ABC
    Oct 16, 2015 - 10:17AM

    Better to keep US away from the project if we want to complete itRecommend

  • Wajahat
    Oct 16, 2015 - 10:19AM

    @Raj – USA:

    Ignorance is such a bliss!!!Recommend

  • Nav
    Oct 16, 2015 - 10:30AM

    Why there is no competitive bidding in awarding contracts, but all the contracts are given only to Chinese companies at a very higher rate…Recommend

  • Haider
    Oct 16, 2015 - 10:57AM

    @Raj-Usa
    18% return from investment is viable but if you are thinking as interest you are mislead…Us,Iran,Russia all will be benefited along with China if CPEC is made acc to its planRecommend

  • Pakistani
    Oct 16, 2015 - 11:15AM

    We should include US and other Powers in this project to balance Chinese influence.Recommend

  • Zulfiqar
    Oct 16, 2015 - 11:47AM

    China is all weather, time tested and iron brother of Pakistan. CPEC Project is both nations resolve and all conspiracies against it will fail.Recommend

  • Answer
    Oct 16, 2015 - 11:48AM

    @Hero – Jealousy at its bestRecommend

  • Pakistan Patriot
    Oct 16, 2015 - 2:24PM

    @ABC: I agree with you if Pakistan wish to see progress , prosperity and free of terror then MUST keep USA away from all projects. Recommend

  • Pakistan Patriot
    Oct 16, 2015 - 2:32PM

    Pakistan can never progress with USA involvement. GOP must make it clear to US that Pakistan will not allow US involvement in Economic Corridor.

    The day US get involved in this gigantic project countdown for project failure will start. US and UAE will make every possible effort to create hurdles in this project to keep Pakistan from progressing.

    Pakistan should partner with China and Russia to rebuild Pakistan and further strengthen economy. USA prefers India over Pakistan therefore Pakistan should look for other partners to strengthen economy and military power. Recommend

  • hamza
    Oct 16, 2015 - 6:40PM

    The Pakistani government should focus more on bringing local investors into gawadar. The only way to keep control of the port would be internal influence. Not saying we should decline foreign investors, but we must also have a physical and economic grip on the port.Recommend

  • Zaffar I. Ahmed
    Dec 13, 2015 - 8:16PM

    @Raj – USA: I fully support CPEC. However those, more aware of CPEC investment terms and conditions, should come forward and deny what is stated @Raj – USA comments, esp “18.5% rate of guaranteed return annually for 45 years”. There is not complete transparency in this deal. public, in good faith, should not be left in the dark.Recommend

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