China on Wednesday said it is keen to import more products from India, but is also looking to enhance export volumes to its neighbour on account of a slowdown in US and European markets.
Receiving an Indian trade delegation led by Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Jyotiraditya Scindia, Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Chen Jian said, "I hope you can tell Indian entrepreneurs that the Chinese government wants more and more products imported from India."
"I hope large enterprise from India will have larger influence than Coca Cola in China," he told Scindia, adding that both the countries should find "new channels" to expand trade relations.
Scindia was in China to attend the India National Day celebrations at the Shanghai Expo.
The Chinese Minister indicated that Beijing is looking at India as a new market place, as exports to the US and EU are on the decline.
"The international financial crisis has taught a lesson that total market volume of western countries will not grow substantially, because their potential has already been reached," he said.
"Besides the consumption method conducted by the American people is widely doubted. So I predict that market volume increase will take place in developing countries," he said.
"We all know India has a very large population and it will be the base for the increase of market volume and the same thing is applicable in China," he added.
Speaking at the Shanghai Expo, Scindia called for more market access for Indian companies in China in return for granting business to Chinese firms. "In the first half of this year alone, Chinese engineering companies have secured $ 4 billion worth of contracts in India," he pointed out.
"The fast growth of India's automobile sector, growing at about 20 per cent per annum, is also attracting huge investments from the Chinese auto industry," Scindia said.
"Over the past few years, India has also been trying to develop a market for pharmaceuticals, agro products and information technology in China," he noted.
"Several trade fairs and exhibitions across China have also had a positive impact and created great awareness about India's strengths in these and other services sectors," he added.
He said the potential for Chinese firms to secure Indian business was immense, "especially with regard to increasing the items in our trade basket to new areas like infrastructure, especially roads and highways."
"Chinese investment in India's infrastructure has risen in recent years, but given the huge infrastructural investment ambitions of the Indian government, totaling about half a trillion US dollars over the next five years, the untapped potential is still large," he said.
Bilateral trade volumes crossed $ 30.37 billion in the first half of the 2010-11 calendar year. However, while Indian exports to China amounted to $ 11.9 billion, China enjoyed the lion's share of trade volumes, with shipments to India valued at $ 18.4 billion.
Scindia was at the Shanghai Expo in place of Commerce Minister Anand Sharma, who had to cancel his visit at the last minute.
India and China will hold an interactive business and trade meeting here tomorrow, at which captains of industry and business from both sides are expected to take part.
Later, in his interaction with the Indian media, Scindia declined to answer a question on why Sharma could not come.
"That question you have to ask him," he said.
Scindia, who had a brief meeting with Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Chen Jian, left for home after spending few hours visiting the Indian and Chinese pavilions.
"I have come and spent time to underline the relationship. We have very high expectations for future," he said, replying to question on whether the absence of an Indian minister would have a bearing on tomorrow's high profile China-India joint business meeting.
Indian officials said both Sharma and Scindia were required to be in New Delhi as the Nuclear Liability Bill is expected to come up for discussion in Parliament.