Consul General of China in Kolkata, Ma Zhanwu, on Tuesday said three delegations, including 30 Chinese companies, will be participating in the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) to be held in Kolkata later this month. This is the largest Chinese delegation to participate in the summit. Last year, two Chinese delegations including 10 corporations had attended the event.
“The delegations will include high-level Chinese officials and businessmen. The mission is for them to come to Kolkata and understand the business culture here so they can explore more opportunities for investing in West Bengal. Out of the states we operate from in East India — Bihar, Chattisgarh, Bengal, Jharkhand and Orissa — economically, Bengal has the most opportunities so far,” said the Consul General.
While 20 of the 30 companies have ongoing projects in India, this will be the first visit to the country for the other 10. Of them, four are from Jiangsu, four from Shandong and one from Yunnan province in China. Vice Governor of Jiangsu, Chen Zhenning, will also be part of the delegation.
“We are looking forward to and expect new policy decisions to facilitate more ease of business in Bengal to be announced by the chief minister. We have been focusing on increasing trade ties with Eastern India, and have been working very closely with the state government to that end… Of course, there seems to be a gap between what the state government wants and the thinking of municipal bodies and villages. We have expressed our concern to the state government, that if the attitude of villages in Bengal can change, then there will be a lot more investment by Chinese companies,” said Zhanwu.
“In 2017, the bilateral relations between the two countries did hit a low, and we did get a little scared. But since then, Chinese delegations have visited India, and have even met the Prime Minister, and relations are on the mend. Looking forward, we hope for shared development goals,” he added.
The Consulate General of China in Kolkata has also partnered with the Indian Chamber of Commerce to host a special B2B session between Chinese business delegations and Indian businesses, which will be held on January 16. China imports Darjeeling tea, jute, seafood, handicrafts and garments from Bengal, while Bengal imports electronic products, machinery and other commodities from China.
Zhanwu said China aims to invest $200 million abroad annually, but last year, the country invested only $100 million because “we couldn’t find suitable projects”. “These are the funds available to us for investment, and we hope Bengal and eastern India take advantage of this. The companies have already expressed a desire to invest in textiles, electronics, automobile manufacturing, rubber products, construction and engineering. There are investment groups who would also like to set up businesses here. The environment for investment in Bengal is improving. Earlier, we had no access to government officials. Now, not only do we have access, but they are very cooperative,” he said.
The Consul General added that two months ago, a delegation from Bengal headed by Principal Secretary (Industries) S Kishore had visited China, and called it “successful and fruitful”. China will hold its first international Import-Export Summit in Shanghai in November this year, in which businesses from the state are expected to participate.