China proposes FTA with India after landmark political accord
New Delhi, Apr 11 (UNI) Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao today announced the decision of India and China to institute a joint feasibility study on a Free Trade Area (FTA) Agreement between the two countries, having signed a landmark political accord to settle the lingering boundary dispute.
Addressing captains of the Indian industry, under the aegis of the apex chambers, FICCI and CII, the Chinese Premier said the two countries will work vigorously towards achieving the two-way trade of 20 billion dollars by 2008 from 13.6 billion dollars at present.
Mr Jiabao said India and China need to remove trade barriers to expand economic cooperation between the two fastest growing economies in the world. "India has emerged as a front-runner in software and China has advantage in hardware and telecommunication. We can do a lot together," he said.
Besides increasing trade, China would work towards stepping investment to India. Likewise, the Premier invited Indian investment to his country informing the Indian industry leaders about the great strides the Chinese economy has made in the last two decades.
"We had a 9.5 per cent GDP growth continuously since 1978 which is a miracle for any country," he said.
China, which attracts annual FDI of 61 billion dollars and has a cumulative FDI of 561 billion dollars will now focus on improvement in the quality of investment.
He offered Chinese help and expertise in building of infrastructure like roads, railways, airports and ports. China is a great success story in the express highways. It has built 30,000 km of express highways in the past 20 years.
Mr Jiabao said India and China, being the crucial players in the WTO, would joinly play a crucial role in the multilateral forum.
Earlier, Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had offered to sign the Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement with China.
Mr Kamal Nath said the composition of export basket needs to change to make it more broad-based in favour of higher value-added items, especially for India’s exports in sectors like drugs and pharmaceuticals and chemicals as well as in service sectors like IT, tourism and banking.
"There should be greater focus on investment flows between India and China," Mr Kamal Nath added.