President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Sunday suggested China should consider eyeing India as a banking destination.
The President broached the idea during her meeting with Shanghai (Communist) Party Secretary Yu Zheng Sheng. It was in context of the presence of Indian banks in China.
Eleven Indian banks have their offices in China, six of them in Shanghai catering to over 100 Indian companies in the city and in industrial towns Jiangsu and Zhejiang nearby.
“The President was keen on balancing India’s trade deficit with China while underscoring the need to increase the volume. She also asked Yu why China wasn’t looking at India in terms of banking,” said Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said at a briefing.
The issue of market access to India vis-à-vis pharmaceuticals, information technology, agriculture and high-end engineering products also came up.
According to External Affairs officials, the tariff barrier in China has come down to almost 0 per cent. “What remains are non-tariff barriers such as inordinate delays in clearing products for export,” said an official.
China, he added, normally takes 2-3 years to give the green light. India exported the maiden consignment of Alphonso mangoes this year after such a delay.
But what has enthused Indian traders and investors here is the pace of business. After a low 2009 – bilateral traded dipped to $43.27 bn from $51.8 bn in 2008 – the first quarter of the current year saw the total trade shoot to 60 per cent. Exports too increased by 57 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2009.