China promises to import more Indian commodities to attain balanced trade

China promised Monday to import more Indian commodities including IT, pharmaceutical and agricultural products in order to make trade between the two countries “more balanced”.

Visiting Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and his Indian counterpart Anand Sharma said after a ministerial meeting on trade and economic relations here that the two countries will also set up a joint working group (JWG) to look into trade-related issues within 90 days.

The decision was taken at the 9th meeting of India-China Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology.

“There has been this issue of data reconciliation, the methodology of calculating the numbers on trade. Both Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and I have proposed that the issues pertaining to trade data and the methodology should be looked into by a Joint Working Group of senior officials of the two countries. We both have agreed to establish the JWG which will address all trade-related issues, but also go beyond that. The mandate will include trade and investment. It will be set up at the earliest, and will give its recommendations and assessment in three months. But the working group will continue to work on investment and trade matters thereafter also,” Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said.

Both sides also agreed to encourage mutual investment during the meeting. “I have invited Chinese companies to invest in the proposed National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NMIZs), and I am happy that the response has been very positive and encouraging,” said Sharma.

Both countries had also agreed to work on a five-year plan on economic cooperation, he added.

Chen said when the global economy has not come out of crisis, there is great meaning to expand bilateral economic cooperation with India which will also send a positive message to the world.

While stressing trade is the basis of economic cooperation between the two countries, Chen said China hopes to increase bilateral trade with India to 100 billion U.S. dollars by 2015 from 75 billion dollars at present.

He said China encourages its enterprises to shift some of their production bases from China to India if they are needed here.

Sharma said it is unreasonable that the direct investment into each other by China and India only totals about one billion U.S. dollars and called for more investment.

He said India welcomes Chinese investment in the nine envisaged economic development zones in the country, also known as NMIZs, which will become manufacturing bases.

However, he stressed that India welcomes only highly skilled and qualified professional personnel from China in its visa policy towards the country because jobs are precious in India.

He denied that some Indian policies towards Chinese telecom companies are discriminatory with such practices as anti-dumping and barring contracts between Chinese suppliers and Indian users under the excuse of safeguarding”national security”.

Xinhua