The recent launch ceremony for the free trade zone in Gwadar Port is a further step toward establishing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The port, which is only 400 kilometers away from the Strait of Hormuz, should have long ago developed into an important trade and logistics base for the Arabian Sea region. However, due to its backward facilities, it has failed to play its deserved role or be included in the global economic network.
However, with the necessary infrastructure it will be able to fulfill this role and become a foundation for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
During his visit to Pakistan in April 2015, President Xi Jinping put forward a framework for economic cooperation between the two centered on the construction of such an economic corridor, which comprises the development of a deepwater port at Gwadar, infrastructure construction, and energy and industrial cooperation.
Gwadar Port is thus expected to be a bridgehead for the economic integration between the two neighbors.
The development of Gwadar Port needs China's funds and technologies, but more importantly, its future development needs the Chinese market. If Chinese merchant vessels can make stopovers in Gwadar and if oil can more freely flow from the Persian Gulf to China via Gwadar, the port will become a key part of China's trading network.
China's accelerated efforts at opening-up and the development of its vast western region, as well as its establishment of an increasing number of economic and trade links offer strong economic support to Gwadar's development.
At the same time, Gwadar's prosperity will also help expand local employment and contain the rise of separatism in economically backward Balochistan and promote economic interactions between the region and Pakistan's central government.