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Chinese PM to press FTA deal with India

PTI, APRIL 08, 2005

Chinese PM to press FTA deal with India

BEIJING: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will propose to establish the world’s biggest Free Trade Area (FTA) between China and India during talks with the Indian leadership next week.

A Sino-Indian free trade agreement is expected to be high on the agenda during Premier Wen Jiabao’s four-day trip to India beginning Saturday, a media report said on Friday.

An FTA agreement is likely to be one of the topics of negotiations to improve and facilitate bilateral economic co-operation between the two countries, ’China Daily’ reported.

China proposed an FTA with India during State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan’s visit to New Delhi last October.

If the Sino-Indian FTA comes into being, it will cover the largest number of people in the world, it noted.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry indicated yesterday that Wen would discuss the FTA issue with the Indian side during talks.

"To have closer economic cooperation between China and India serves the fundamental interests of the two sides. With the growth of economic cooperation and trade between the two countries, naturally the free trade zone has been put on the agenda," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters here.

"I am sure during Premier Wen’s visit to India, the leaders of the two countries will exchange ideas and have beneficial discussions on this. As to whether there will be an agreement concluded, it depends on the specific situation of discussion and talks," Qin said.

Wen and Singh are expected to meet on April 11.

 source: Economic Times