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China Reform Monitor - No. 1258

China opens Gwadar port in Pakistan;
Chinese firm assumes stake in Iran's South Pars gas field

Edited by Joshua Eisenman
December 6, 2016

November 7:

Under the "One Belt One Road" (OBOR) initiative, China has set up the 10 billion euro ($11.1 billion) China-Central Eastern European investment fund to finance profitable infrastructure projects such as logistics, clean energy and pharmaceutical manufacturing in Central and Eastern Europe. The fund will raise another 50 billion euros to finance joint ventures, Premier Li Keqiang said at an annual meeting with 16 regional heads of state in Riga, Latvia. The "market-driven" fund is the latest in a series of moves to help Chinese firms scouting for investment opportunities abroad amid an economic slowdown at home, 
the official Caixin reports. The fund is managed by Sino-CEEF Holding Co. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC), which was launched this week by Li and the Latvian Prime Minister. 

[Editor's Note: In 2012, China and 16 Central and European countries formed a multilateral forum called "16+1." The heads of state from member countries have met annually to discuss economic projects. China's trade with Central and Eastern European countries has grown 14-fold since 2001, reaching $56.3 billion last year. China's major trade partners in the region include Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania.]

The provincial government in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has petitioned the Peshawar High Court to demand a greater share of the funds from the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). At a meeting of the Peshawar provincial parliament, the speaker of the assembly, Asad Qaiser, said he would employ all constitutional and parliamentary options to ensure the province's fair share of the $46 billion in CPEC funding, 
according to Pakistan's Daily Times

November 8:

Kyrgyzstan's truck drivers cannot get visas to China and the Chinese authorities "unreasonably impose fines and punishments," said Igor Golubev, a representative of the Kyrgyz independent truck drivers' union. "There were incidents when Chinese military personnel humiliated our drivers and threw documents in their faces only because they did not like faces," Golubev said. The visa problem stems from an incident where the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan was not repaired after a suicide bomber attacked the building on August 20. "No one can tell us a specific time-frame of visa issuances," Golubev said, calling on Kyrgyzstan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs to intervene on their behalf, reports.

A preliminary $6 billion deal has been inked between Iran's state-owned Petropars, China National Petroleum Corp. (CNPC), and France's Total SA to develop an offshore gas field in the Persian Gulf. The consortium will develop the South Pars field, which is estimated to contain 14,000 billion cubic meters of gas, or about 8 percent of known global reserves. Total will enjoy a 50.1 percent controlling stake in the consortium. CNPC will take 30 percent and Iran's Petropars an additional 19.9 percent. In 2009, Total and CNPC signed development deals with Iran to begin work at the field before international sanctions forced them to pull out, 
NPR reports

November 14:

The Chinese ambassador to Pakistan, Sun Weidong, spoke at the ceremony marking the start of operation of the Gwadar Port, the official Global Times reports. Sun said the port has helped realize the concept of "one corridor with multiple passages" under the CPEC. Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said "no region or province will be left out" of CPEC's benefits. "These words are obviously aimed at tackling complaints from some regions in Pakistan that they had not benefited from the port," the official The Global Times reports. A lack of security is the "biggest challenge" that the port will face, said Zhao Gancheng of the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

Related Categories: China; China and East Asia Program

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