India and China had to work together to create a level economic playing field by addressing issues like non-tariff barriers, IPR protection and market-related exchange rates, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh stressed on Monday. Addressing an India-China economic, trade and investment “summit” meeting, the Prime Minister said the challenge was to diversify India’s export trade basket to China.
“I would like to assure this gathering that both governments will work together to put in place an enabling environment for greater trade, investment and economic interaction,” he promised.
India’s trade deficit with China was about $10 billion in 2007, in which total trade was worth $38.7 billion. India was China’s tenth largest trading partner and China was India’s second largest.
“In addition to our competitive manufacturing industries, India has a diversified agricultural production base. Our food processing industry is also growing rapidly and we can supply quality agricultural and marine products to the Chinese market. A conducive environment should be created for this trade to expand,” the Prime Minister said.
Pointing out that the services sector accounted for more than 50 per cent of India’s GDP and over 40 per cent of China’s, Singh informed the massive gathering of Chinese businesspersons that India had had considerable success in positioning itself in high-tech services in world markets.
“There are enormous opportunities for both India and China to expand trade in services, particularly in construction and engineering, education, entertainment, financial services, IT and IT-enabled services, transport, tourism and health,” he felt. Singh said India would work with the Chinese government to “remove administrative barriers and simplify regulatory regimes” to move forward in these areas.
Touching on the theme of India-China competition, Singh said that all countries had to compete in global markets and such competition was not inconsistent with cooperation, nor was it adversarial.
“Economic cooperation between India and China has become a principal diver of our strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity…India and China working together should develop a habit of mutually advantageous cooperation,” the Prime Minister maintained.