China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: A New Frontier for Investment Treaty Disputes?

November 02, 2017

China’s One Belt One Road initiative (“OBOR Initiative”) provides promising and lucrative opportunities for foreign investors to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects across Asia, the Middle East, Africa, and Europe. One of the most notable partnerships to arise out of the OBOR Initiative is the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (“CPEC”). China and Pakistan have been working on the CPEC since 2013. CPEC is considered to be a pioneer project under the OBOR Initiative and is meant to serve as a model for other states to which the OBOR Initiative will be expanded. In total, China is set to invest more than US$55 billion in Pakistan, building power plants, roads, and railways across the country. The two countries have executed around 51 cooperation agreements, mostly for the construction of energy and transportation infrastructure in Pakistan. At a recent CPEC review meeting, Pakistan’s Planning Minister indicated that many of the “early harvest projects” (i.e., projects with a relatively short construction period) will be completed by the end of 2017. The CPEC initiative, undoubtedly, has become the largest regional and international construction project and offers tremendous investment opportunities for domestic and foreign companies.

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