China keen to negotiate bilateral investment treaty, set up industrial parks

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Business Line | 28 March 2018

China keen to negotiate bilateral investment treaty, set up industrial parks

China has expressed its interest in negotiating a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with India following the termination of its earlier treaty in July last year.

“Chinese Trade Minister Zhong Shan expressed his keenness to have a BIT with India in his meeting with India’s Commerce & Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu early this week. He was asked to get in touch with the Department of Economic Affairs,” a government official told BusinessLine.

While China is eager to increase its investments in India, it wants to put in money under a framework of rules that is favourable for its investors. Many countries consider the model BIT framed by the Finance Ministry last year as tough, especially in the area of investor-state dispute settlement.

Beijing had agreed to invest $20 billion into India as part of the five-year trade and economic development plan’ signed by the two countries signed in 2014, but very little investment has been made since then.

In his talks with Prabhu, Zhong said China wanted to set up more industrial parks in India. The country has, however, been seeking a number of concessions for its investors to which India has not been forthcoming. The Chinese leader also expressed the country’s concern about the growing number of anti-dumping investigations against imports from China. “We explained to the Chinese Minister that all actions taken by India in the form of trade remedies were in line with WTO rules,” the official said. There were no discussions on China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ (OBOR) initiative at the meeting between the two trade ministers.

The Chinese Minister agreed to take steps to increase market access for items such as farm products, pharmaceuticals and IT to address the problem of India’s trade deficit with the country, which has grown to $51 billion in 2016-17, accounting for about a third of India’s total trade deficit.

source: Business Line