The Economic Times Online
India, China may opt for RTA rather than FTA
SHANTANU NANDAN SHARMA
TIMES NEWS NETWORK, SATURDAY, APRIL 02, 2005
NEW DELHI: India and China may opt for a regional trade arrangement (RTA) when the two heads of state, Dr Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao, meet next weekend in the capital.
Chinese premier Wen Jiabao’s four-day visit to India is scheduled to begin on April 9 and it is learnt that both the governments are finalising the proposal to implement an RTA rather than a full-fledged free trade agreement (FTA).
Both governments, meanwhile, are working on the recommendations of a joint study group co-chaired from the Indian side by Dr Rakesh Mohan. The report, submitted to both governments on March 23, could form the basis of a possible joint statement by the premiers of the two Asian titans.
It is further learnt that India may help China to set up a Sebi-like market regulator. China has no regulatory body at present.
Also, English teachers from India may be encouraged to take up jobs in China in a big way, and there may be a special emphasis on teaching Chinese in some Indian institutes.
Both the countries may also formulate a policy to encourage tourism. India attracts just over 5,000 Chinese tourists every year out of a total of 20 million Chinese tourists travelling out of the country. The government, it is learnt, will give the Chinese language priority so as to create more guides with a working knowledge of Chinese.
The other issues which both the governments have seriously been considering include the signing of a customs cooperation and natural assistance agreement, and simplification of customs-handling procedures.
Considering the growing volume of trade between the two countries, both the governments are likely to increase the frequency of ships. Meanwhile, China and India have decided to increase flights from 7 to 42 per week.