Hu's 5-point plan to push Sino-India trade ties

None | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Mumbai
Nov 23, 2006 06:19 PM IST

The Chinese president said that India and China must strengthen cooperation at a multilateral level and third countries.

Chinese President Hu Jintao concluded his four-day visit to India here on Thursday, with a meeting with top business leaders during which he proposed a five-point plan to push bilateral trade and economic ties.

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Addressing the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation Summit and a Chief Executives' Forum, Hu said the two countries must first work closely so as to realise the target of doubling bilateral trade to $40 billion by 2010.

"The current level of bilateral trade between the two countries is incompatible to their respective sizes but has scope of growth by improving trade structure and increasing technological cooperation," he said.

Hu, who arrived here Wednesday evening from New Delhi and Agra, said one of the action plans he proposed was to actively explore trade liberalisation.

For that a free trade pact between the two countries will lift the business engagement to a new level, he said.

The two sides have already commenced joint feasibility study on a regional trade arrangement and have agreed to conclude the study by October 2007, Hu added.

Hu also said that India and China must strengthen cooperation at a multilateral level and third countries, improve the environment for bilateral investment and combine the respective strengths of the two countries in specific areas.

He identified these areas as information technology, software, energy resources, infrastructure, science and technology and agriculture, and said they offered a great potential for mutual cooperation.

Just as Beijing will encourage Chinese companies to invest in India, it will also encourage Indian companies to invest in China, Hu said.

But the two sides must also work toward removing bottlenecks to trade and investment, he added.

Thursday's meeting was co-organised by the three apex chambers - the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Assocham).

The Chinese president started his India visit on Monday evening at New Delhi, where he landed after visiting Vietnam and Laos. He concludes his four-nation visit in Pakistan.

In New Delhi, his visit marked the signing as many as 13 bilateral agreements in areas like investment protection, human resources development, forestry, culture and establishment of consulates in Guangzhou and Kolkata.

He also held talks with the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and met with President APJ Kalam and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha LK Advani, among others.

Hu - the first Chinese president to visit India in over a decade - also gave a lecture on how India and China can work together to expand cooperation and create a bright future.

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