Indian Express, India
FTA logical agenda item: Wen
Chinese Premier expresses hope of a feasibility study of FTA between India, China
ANIL K. JOSEPH
4 April 2005
BEIJING, APRIL 4: Maintaining that establishment of a free trade area (FTA) between China and India has become a ‘‘logical agenda’’ item, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has expressed hope that the two sides will soon begin their feasibility study of FTA.
He also said trade and economic relations between the two countries were growing rapidly with areas broadening and contents of cooperation deepening. ‘‘In order to move bilateral trade and economic ties to a new level, the establishment of FTA has become a logical agenda item.
‘‘A broader and deeper relationship in the economy and trade between China and India not not only serves the two countries, but will accelerate the process of regional economic integration in Asia. I hope the two sides will soon begin their feasibility study of FTA,’’ Wen, who will be visiting India later this week, in an interview to PTI.
He was replying to a question on the prospects of Sino-Indian FTA and how it would benefit the two countries.
The Chinese leader said trade and economic cooperation between the two countries have grown rapidly. Two-way trade last year reached $13.6 billion, 13 times that of 10 years ago, achieving the $10 billion target ahead of schedule.
Wen said bilateral cooperation in culture, science, technology, education, tourism and other areas has made steady headway.
On cooperation between the two countries in the coming ministerial conference of WTO in Hong Kong, Wen said being large developing countries, China and India were an important force in the Defence of the interests of developing members of WTO.
Since the beginning of the Doha round, the two countries had enjoyed a good cooperation coordinating positions on agriculture, development, service, investment, intellectual property rights, public health and many other agenda items, and supported each other in the efforts to protect the interests of developing members, he said.
Wen said the WTO ministerial conference in Hong Kong would have a major impact on the Doha round talks. ‘‘We hope that this meeting will achieve a balanced and substantive progress on such major items as agriculture, non-agricultural products, service and development so as to lay the foundation for the smooth conclusion of the Doha round. -PTI