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Despite corona concerns, Pak got FDI chunk from China in March

Despite corona concerns, Pak got FDI chunk from China in March

At a time when China was still reeling under from the coronavirus shock in February and March, its investments in other countries, especially Pakistan, continued unabated. Interestingly total foreign direct investment (FDI) into Pakistan increased by $278.7 million in March and $289 million February, thanks to investments by the world’s most populous country.

China has contributed over 70 per cent of the total FDI inflow into Pakistan, several reports have said.

In the July 2019-March 2020 period, Pakistan’s FDI inflow from China alone stood at $872 million. The distant second is Norway. FDI inflow from the Scandinavian country stood at $288 million. Pakistan’s financial year starts from July 1.

The investments also included the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the multibillion-dollar infrastructure, which has prompted India to raise its objection as the project passes through parts of Indian territory.

In fact, to ensure that bilateral relations do not suffer, Pakistan even refused to evacuate its citizens from Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated. It turned deaf to appeals by its own people who urged the government to evacuate students as all other nations including India embarked on airlifting their own respective citizens. The Pakistan government reportedly refused to airlift its citizens citing “larger interests.”

Pakistan has been deepening its ties with China as India’s relations with Washington has been cementing.

“Pakistanis will soon realize—if they have not already—what a devil’s bargain their country has made. In China, Pakistan has tied itself to a country that is responsible for the incarceration in concentration camps of one million Muslims solely on the basis of their religion and it has partnered with a country that thinks nothing about killing Pakistanis and humiliating Pakistan,” Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official, wrote in an article published in The National Interest.

Even as other countries including Australia, Italy, Spain, France, and India, where China has been aggressively investing, have registered their concerns and taken steps to protect their domestic companies, Pakistan continues to keep its doors open.

In a bid to bar any “opportunistic” takeover or acquisition in domestic companies by its neighboring countries in the wake of the spread of Covid-19, India revised its FDI policy last month. Until now, restrictions related to FDI were applicable only for Pakistan and Bangladesh.

While India shares its borders with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan, the revised norms will affect China the most..