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What Chinese PM's visit means for Indian business

Last updated on: December 13, 2010 16:43 IST

What Chinese PM's visit means for Indian business

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Promising to address India's concerns over its trade deficit widening to a record $16 billion this year, China on Monday said it hopes to ink a series of economic and trade pacts when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visits New Delhi this week.

"India is having a trade deficit with China, this is true. Actually, China has attached a lot of importance to this trade imbalance... The reasons for such an imbalance are determined as a result of trade structures between the two sides," said Liang Wenzhao, the Deputy Director of the Department of Asian Affairs of China's Ministry of Commerce, during a media briefing ahead of Jiabao's visit to India and Pakistan.

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Image: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao.
Photographs: Reuters
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"The Chinese government is taking a number of measures to expand its import from India", which includes sending trade and investment promotion information to India to purchase products that India wants to export, as well as India's competitive products, he said.

"I believe through concerted efforts from the two business communities," exports and investments could be worked out to address the trade imbalance, he said.

To enable Indian products to make a dent in Chinese markets, he said China gives support to business delegations from India to attend exhibitions to promote their products.

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"We will exempt the fees to set up the booths at the exhibitions... We hope that Indian companies can by relying on their own efforts give better publicity to their products and make even greater efforts to expand Chinese markets," he said.

He said China also invites Indian business houses to step up investments in China "so that we can together ease the trade imbalance and more Indian companies can benefit from the development of China".

China has emerged as India's largest trade partner, with two-way trade rising from $18.7 billion in 2005 to $51.8 billion in 2008.

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This year, bilateral trade has already touched $50 billion and officials say it is on course to meet the whole-year target of $60 billion.

Indian exports in the first ten months of 2010-11 amounted to $17 billion, whereas China's exports to its neighbour were worth $32.87 billion.

On the Indian demand for China to open its markets to Indian IT, pharma, agro products and engineering goods, Liang said China's market has always been open to foreign products, including those from India.

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"Some products, for example, medicines and agricultural products, will meet the standards of the rules and laws and there is an application process for the entry into the market, because there are potential problems such as insects and diseases so we need to go through a process of quarantine," he said.

"India has a very fast growing IT industry and it is the biggest IPO country in the world.

And Huawei has set up a software development park in India.

We are happy to see more Indian IT products to enter into the Chinese markets and in this regard, we don't have any restrictions," Liang said.

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With regard to pharmaceutical and agro products, he said that so long as Indian companies are active in exploring the Chinese market, "I want to emphasise that, the implementation or the going through of relevant laws legal procedures has a lot to do with the efforts of the companies that want to enter into the country."

"The Chinese pharmaceutical market and Chinese agro products market are very big...I hope that the Indian companies will learn from other companies of our countries to actively explore the Chinese market," he added.

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What Chinese PM's visit means for Indian business

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While Indian officials here said that over 300 Chinese officials and businessmen have been given visas to take part in the India-China Business Forum being held in Delhi in connection with Jiabao's visit, China's state-run Xinhua news agency said, "In an unusually large Chinese delegation, more than 100 senior representatives from Chinese business community accompany Wen."

About reports that $20 billion worth of deals will be signed during Jiabao's visit, he said the contract value of the agreements would be quantified by the leaders of the two countries after the deals were signed.

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Liang termed the recent $10 billion dollar agreement between Reliance Power and Shanghai Electric Cooperation and Shanghai Electric Group Co (SEC) to supply 36 coal-fired thermal power generation units as a "highlight of the bilateral cooperation".

According to officials here, the agreement would come up for formal approval during Wen's visit.

"Actually, not long ago, this agreement was already signed in China. Representatives from the Shanghai company will enter into specific discussions with the Indian side on the financing issue and concerning the specific amount of the value of the contract," he said.

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