Updated: September 19, 2014 10:23:40 am
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday assured Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Beijing is committed to taking “concrete steps” to address India’s concerns on market access and investment opportunities.
This came as Xi also made a financial commitment to realise $20 billion of Chinese investments in the next five years, much less than what the Japanese pledged for $35 billion couple of weeks ago.
After meeting him, Modi said, “We agreed that our economic relations do not do justice to our potential. I expressed concern at the slowdown in trade and the worsening trade imbalance. I sought his partnership in improving market access and investment opportunities for Indian companies in China. President Xi assured me of his commitment to take concrete steps to address our concerns.”
He also said that he has invited Chinese investments in India’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors and briefed Xi about his government’s new policies and administrative steps in this area.
China on Thursday committed $20 billion investment over the next five years and agreed to provide greater market access to Indian products in farm, pharma and gems and jewellery sectors, with a view to reducing the large trade gap with India.
The ‘Five-year Trade and Economic Development Plan’ was signed by commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Chinese counterpart Gao Hucheng in the presence of Modi and Xi.
The agreement seeks to reduce the bilateral trade imbalance and strengthen investment cooperation to realise $20 billion investment from China in the next five years, among other things.
As per the agreement, China will provide market access to Indian pharmaceuticals, handicrafts, textile, gems and jewellery, bovine meat, oil meals, basmati and non-basmati rice, fruits and vegetables.
India has been pressing China to lower duties on these items with a view to encouraging exports and bringing down the trade gap that increased exponentially from $18.65 billion in 2009 to $36.86 billion in 2013.
Modi said: “I am pleased with the agreements on two Chinese industrial parks in India and a commitment to realise $20 billion of Chinese investments in the next five years. This opens a new chapter in our economic relations.”
As per the MoU signed in June, 2014, China will set up an auto industrial park in Maharashtra and electricity equipment industrial park in Gujarat.
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