CPEC Regional Extension


Vowing regional economic integration and positive-sum gains for all the engaged actors, China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), making inroads towards Afghanistan.  Evidently, the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s spokesperson while appreciating  Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks on CPEC, said that the Chinese side was having a discussion with third parties, including Afghanistan on the extension of the flagship project. Indeed this is an encouraging factor that, Pakistan and China are determined for high-quality development of the CPEC and extend it to regional countries, improve people’s well-being and play a bigger role in regional connectivity and economic integration. Pertinently, CPEC as pioneering projects of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has made important and major progress in infrastructure, energy, ports, and industry. Nevertheless, a stable Afghanistan is a pre-condition, for the economic progress of the entire region. Pakistan has already undertaken the building of several roads to improve connectivity between the two countries. The 75 km Torkham-Jalalabad road is one of them, while the Peshawar-Torkham road is another. While both these developments have faced considerable completion challenges, they are a step toward increasing connectivity with Pakistan, and in turn, gaining Afghan access to CPEC.  becoming a part of CPEC, and BRI in general, Afghanistan will have the opportunity to stabilize its economy by enhancing its trade opportunities. Almost 70 % of Afghanistan’s total exports were to Pakistan and India.der BRI network will thus provide two opportunities: first, access to markets in China, Central Asia, and parts of Europe that Afghanistan doesn’t currently trade extensively with, and second, the chance to diversify Afghan trade products by exporting copper, iron, and other resources to countries on the BRI.

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