'Hope to boost cooperation, reduce trade gap with India'

New Delhi: Strengthening bilateral cooperation in trade facilitation and creation of favourable condition for expanding two-way commerce can help in reducing the trade imbalance with India, a senior Chinese official said here on Thursday.

Zhu Xiaohong, Counsellor, Embassy of China, said that at present there is no further trade facilitation arrangement between the two countries.

"The two sides should continue to strengthen cooperation on trade facilitation, upgrade bilateral, regional and multi-lateral trade facilitation, and create favourable conditions for expanding bilateral trade scale and alleviating trade imbalance," she said here.

She was speaking at Ficci'a India-China Meeting and Signing Ceremony.

India has time and again raised the issue of widening trade deficit with China, which stood at over $50 billion in 2018-19. It has also raised concerns that domestic sectors like IT, agri and pharma do not get fair market access in China.

She said that for a long time, the imbalance in trade in goods between the countries has been one of the factors troubling economic cooperation.

"To make it clear, China has never deliberately pursued trade surplus. China is fully aware that balanced trade is sustainable and beneficial to both sides. Over a long period of time, China has taken a series of measures to reduce the trade imbalance in goods," she added. The counsellor added that China's trade surplus with India reduced by 1.6 per cent to $37.9 billion during the first eight months of 2019.

"India's agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, handicrafts have certain advantages. However, due to lack of necessary understanding and cognition of the Chinese market, their way into China seems not smooth," she said.

Xiaohong also suggested that the Indian side should follow the concept of compatibility, competitiveness, creativity and cooperation.

Next month, China will host the second international import expo and it welcomed India to showcase domestic products.

Further, she said that over 1,000 Chinese companies have increased their investments in India and with a total investment of $8 billion, they have created 200,000 local jobs.

"China encourages Chinese companies to invest in India and hopes that India will provide a more fair, friendly and convenient business environment for Chinese companies to operate in India," she added.

Speaking at the function, Liu Changyu, Deputy Director General, Foreign Trade Department of Ministry of Commerce, China, said that the ministry has facilitated over 60 entrepreneurs from 34 sectors to carry out trade promotion activities in India and these enterprises have brought about trade agreements with orders of about $100 million.

He said in the next 15 years, China will be importing $30 trillion worth of goods and $100 billion worth of services from the world.

Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Executive Committee member, Ficci and chairman of Sun International, said huge trade and investment opportunities exist in China for Indian firms.

He said going by the trend, the bilateral trade between the countries would cross $100 billion this fiscal from the current $75 billion.

"We do hope that more Chinese firms will explore business opportunities in India and participate in Make in India programme," Sahney added.

FIEO Director General Ajay Sahai said that there is a need to devise a mechanism to export to China and attract investments in India from the neighbouring country.

During the event, as many as 129 MoUs were signed between the private sector of both the countries for exports of various products such as chemicals, plastics, pharma and fertiliser.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will be meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Mamallapuram, near Chennai, for their second informal summit on Friday.

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