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$100bn trade target: India, China to hold talks in Sept

India and China will kick-start discussions next month covering a spectrum of sectors aimed at doubling bilateral trade to $100 billion (Rs 460,000 crore) by 2015 under a 'Strategic Economic Dialogue' - a move seen as an attempt to mend a relationship strained by disputes between two of the world's greatest emerging economic powers. HT reports.

business Updated: Aug 31, 2011 01:14 IST

India and China will kick-start discussions next month covering a spectrum of sectors aimed at doubling bilateral trade to $100 billion (Rs 460,000 crore) by 2015 under a 'Strategic Economic Dialogue' - a move seen as an attempt to mend a relationship strained by disputes between two of the world's greatest emerging economic powers.

Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia will lead a delegation to Beijing in September-end to define the broad contours of a framework for enhanced economic cooperation in the energy, steel, telecommunication, banking, technology and pharmaceutical sectors, among others.

Zhang Ping, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission - China's equivalent of the Planning Commission - will lead discussions on behalf of the world's fastest-growing economy during the two-day talks beginning September 26.

The two countries had agreed to establish the dialogue when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visited India in December 2010.

New and renewable energy sources are expected to be one area where the two can cooperate to their mutual benefit. India's 12th five-year plan (2012-16) calls for generating more power through these sources, such as wind and solar power. Likewise, China's 12th five-year plan (2011-15) focuses on a greener approach to economic growth.

India has also sought market access for 17 fruits and vegetables.

An official source said discussions will focus on India's participation in trade fairs in China, trade facilitation, enhancing exchange and cooperation of pharmaceutical supervision, stronger relationships between Chinese enterprises and the Indian IT industry, and speedier completion of phyto-sanitary negotiations on farm products.

China, which fought a brief but bitter war with India in 1962, is India's largest trading partner. It is also our single largest source of imports, with a share of over 10% of India's total imports of $351 billion (Rs 1,614,600 crore) in 2010-11.

China has accused India of adopting anti-trade measures, allegations New Delhi has denied. In turn, India has blamed Beijing for imposing non-tariff barriers to prevent access to its market. India also believes China is blocking entry of fruits and vegetables on grounds not necessarily economic, an official said.

Then there have been instances of Chinese pharma firms selling medicines with 'made in India' labels in Africa. In June 2008, Nigerian authorities seized a consignment of fake anti-malarial drugs with the India tag but allegedly produced in China, said a commerce ministry official here. The tablets could have affected 642,000 customers.

India has also put quality restrictions on cellphones, dairy products and toys in a measure primarily aimed at blocking cheap import from China. India's Directorate-General of Foreign Trade said mobile handsets without the IMEI (international mobile equipment identity) number, which helps track the sale and use of the phones, cannot be imported. Industry sources estimate close to a million such phones enter India from China every month.