10 Aug 2005 - IANS
China calls for expediting Free Trade Agreement
Hyderabad : Noting that bilateral trade between India and China is not as vast as their economies, the China Council for Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) has called for expediting the process of a free trade agreement (FTA).
"The FTA is under study but should be expedited to maintain the momentum of bilateral trade," said Wang Jinzhen, assistant chairman of CCPIT, the largest trade and investment promotion organization of that country.
Addressing a conference on "China : A India opportunity" organized by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Wednesday, he said a Sino-India FTA would be the biggest in terms of the population it would cover. "The FTA will cover two-fifths of the world’s population," he said.
He has also called for expanding bilateral investment and encouraging more people of both the countries to visit each other to further improve understanding between the two neighbours.
"The bilateral trade has increased but is still not compatible with the overall situation, occupying a little more than one percent of China’s total import and export volume and more than eight percent of India’s total import and export volume," he said.
He noted that from January to May 2005, Sino-Indian imports and exports reached $7.71 billion, which exceeded the whole year of 2003. The imports and exports were 41.1 percent more during the same period last year. China’s exports amounted to $3.09 billion, 65 percent up over the same period last year and imports stood at $4.62 billion, 29 percent more during the same period last year. This made India the 10th biggest trading nation of China overtaking Canada.
China’s GDP grew by 9.5 percent in the first half of 2005. It will double by 2010 and likely to redouble by 2020 that would turn it into the world’s third largest economic power.
The country boasts 22 percent of the world’s population but overall economic strength is only four percent of the world.