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China promises to address India's trade concerns

May 16, 2013 15:50 IST

Ahead of Premier Li Keqiang's first visit to India, China on Thursday said it is paying "close attention" to address New Delhi's concerns over the ballooning trade deficit and promised steps to expand market access for Indian products.

China attaches importance to expanding cooperation with India in all fields, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Yaoping told a media briefing in Beijing on Li's three-day visit to New Delhi and Mumbai from May 19 during which the two countries are set to sign several agreements.

"The two sides will conclude a number of agreements in a wide range of areas. Of course all these cooperation agreements are negotiated on the basis of mutual benefit," he said.

During Li's visit the two countries will hold the China-India CEO forum meeting and the China-India cooperation summit, he said.

A Chinese trade and investment promotion mission will accompany Li during his India visit, Jiang said.

On India's concerns over widening trade deficit, which touched $28.87 billion in the overall bilateral trade of $66.47 billion last year, Jiang said "China pays close attention" to the issue and is taking steps to address it.

India has asked China, the world's second-largest economy, to open up its markets in areas like IT and pharmaceuticals where the South Asian giant has an edge.

"China takes this issue seriously and we have already taken number of efforts to address the problem," Jiang said adding that China has sent three trade investment promotion missions to India since 2008.

"We have signed purchase contracts worth $1.65 billion and financial agreements worth $11.64 billion. Also we signed engineering contracts worth $3.5 billion," he said.

K J M Varma in Beijing
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