HindustanTimes Wed,22 Oct 2014

Sitharaman tells China: Be confident, invest in India

Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times  Beijing, June 29, 2014
First Published: 20:50 IST(29/6/2014) | Last Updated: 00:16 IST(30/6/2014)

India is open to Chinese investment in various sectors and expects Beijing to ensure ease of access for Indian products like pharmaceuticals in the vast market here; Commerce minister Nirmala Sitharaman is expected to convey to her counterpart Gao Hucheng during their bilateral meeting slated for today.

Sitharaman and Gao are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Monday on setting up of at least four industrial parks in India with Chinese investment.

The current Chinese investment stands at little over $1.1 billion and trade between the two countries face a sharp imbalance in favour of China.

“There is definitely a very big imbalance. We are importing a lot more than we are exporting,” Sitharaman said during an interaction with Beijing-based Indian reporters on Sunday evening.

She is here as part of the visiting Indian delegation led by vice-president Hamid Ansari to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Panchsheel treaty.

The minister said the government’s effort was to restore confidence in the Indian economy.

“Our efforts are towards fulfilling… expectations not just from Chinese but within India too. We want to restore confidence in the economy. You highlight the potential that lies in the Indian economy and the size of the market in India cannot be lost out, both for manufacturers and investors from abroad,” she said.

She said there was scope for Chinese companies to come to India and set up manufacturing bases for many goods that India imports from China, which could restore some balance in the bilateral trade.

Sitharaman added that the Indian government will also try to ease bureaucratic hurdles for Chinese investors.

 “These are the issues I would like to raise with the (Chinese) commerce minister: the immense scope for investing in India. Not just for manufacturing but for many of those sectors where the Chinese have advantage whether it is infrastructure or railways,” she said.

“We could always find more such areas where Chinese investment can be encouraged,” she added.

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