Govt to invite Chinese companies to 'make in India'

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Sep 11, 2014 02:38 IST

India and China are likely to announce a series of measures including more market access for Indian goods and setting up a Chinese manufacturing hub in India, during President Xi Jinping's visit this month.

Both countries will also look at ways to reduce India's trade deficit, which increased from $39.44 billion in 2011-12 to $40.77 billion in 2012-13. Exports fell from $18.08 billion in 2011-12 to $13.53 billion in 2012-13. China has invested only $410 million between April 2000 and June 2014.

"We have asked Chinese officials to set up a manufacturing infrastructure in India and not just make it a hub for exports," commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman said while highlighting the initiatives her ministry has taken in the first 100 days of the NDA government. "Manufacturing in China and selling in India is not looking favourable to India. We believe this visit will present a good scope for increasing China's investment and trade with India."

Sitharaman also ruled out any cut in gold imports duty, saying there was "no immediate plan," even though the current account deficit - the difference between dollar inflows and outflows - have fallen to comfortable levels.

Setting up of industrial parks and special economic zones for Chinese companies in India will be highlighted during meetings with Chinese officials, she said, adding "We are also asking for more market access for our products in China."

China is expected to announce $5-billion investment in setting up two industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The move is important to restore economic momentum and provide jobs to tens of thousands of people that enter the workforce each month.

Sitharaman ruled out the imposition of anti-dumping duty on imports of solar panels from countries such as the US and China. "There was no notification. We allowed (the proposal) to lapse."

Sino-Indian relations will see a "directional change" with Xi's visit, she said, besides boosting trade and investments. "After 50 years, mutual relations will get a directional change... will improve," she said.

The minister pointed out that finance minister Arun Jaitley has said exceptions can be made on the Land Acquisition Act. The government was mulling dual use of SEZ land, she said.

Reiterating India's stand at the World Trade organisation (WTO) on stock holding of foodgrains, she said, "It is important for India's National Food Security."

China and many other WTO members now understand and appreciate India's stand on food security, which resulted in a stalemate on the Trade Facilitation Agreement, she added.

On Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the US this month, the minister said that the discussion between the two leaders would include visa and labour movement issue and greater market access for the Indian pharma sector to the US.

The government will soon announce a Foreign Trade Policy, she added. "I can give you a broad idea, but not an intrinsic details. Whatever was the structure of earlier FTPs, it would be different from that." FTP 2014-19 seeks to boost manufacturing and exports, among other things.

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