High-ranking Pakistani official acknowledges that there is fear among Western investors that China could be given preferential treatment.
The China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and China's ever-increasing presence seem to be putting some Western off from making investments in Pakistan, news agency Reuters has reported. A top government official has scrambled to assure Western investors that Pakistan would not give any sort of preferential treatment or concessions.
Naeem Zamindar, the chairman of Pakistan's Board of Investment (BOI), said his government expects Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to jump about 60 percent. But persistent failure to deal with home-grown extremism, the souring of ties with the US and the rising hand of China could dampen the FDI projection.
Zamindar told Reuters in an interview that some Western investors appeared non-committal about making investments in Pakistan. He said they could be reluctant over concerns that they would not be given a level playing field. This would stem from the expectation that Pakistan would continue expanding the concessions it gives to the Chinese.
"A perception was created that the Chinese are taking over. The fact of the matter is that this is not true." Zamindar said. "Pakistan's government is very clear about it: we want investors of all hues to come in and participate in building this economy - whether American, English or Japanese," he added.
He assured that Chinese companies would not be given preferential treatment in the second part of CPEC, which entails the setting up of a number of SEZs along the CPEC route. "That is completely non-discriminatory," he said, adding that Pakistani law does not allow for any country or company will get preferential treatment within SEZs.