Will address adverse trade deficit issue, assures China

India and China, on Monday, agreed to set up a joint working group (JWG) to look into not only trade-related issues but also investments. The working group is expected to come out with a report within 90 days

The working group is set up even as India has expressed serious concerns over the widening trade deficit with its neighbour and sought a correction. On its part, China expressed serious concern over the imposition of duty on import of power equipment by New Delhi.

The decision to set up a JWG was taken at the meeting of India-China Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology.

“There has been this issue of data reconciliation, the methodology of calculating the numbers on trade. Both Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming and I have proposed that the issues pertaining to trade data and the methodology should be looked into by a Joint Working Group of senior officials of the two countries. We both have agreed to establish the JWG which will address all trade-related issues, but also go beyond that. The mandate will include trade and investments. It will be set up at the earliest, and will give its recommendations and assessment in three months. But the working group will continue to work on investment and trade matters thereafter also,” Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said after the meeting.

Referring to the trade deficit and related issues, he said China had assured that it would address India’s concerns over issues such as adverse trade deficit, market access for Indian IT and pharma products and the like. Both the sides also agreed to seriously look at encouraging mutual investment, he added. “I have invited Chinese companies to invest in the proposed National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NMIZs), and I am happy that the response has been very positive and encouraging,” he said. Mr. Sharma said both countries had also agreed to work on a five-year plan on economic cooperation. This has been proposed by Mr. Chen Deming and India endorsed that. “We have identified focal points and nodal authorities who will be working to put the development plan,” Mr. Sharma said.

Addressing a joint press briefing, Mr. Chen Deming said in times of global economic crisis, there was a need for strengthening India-China economic relationship. He also expressed the hope that bilateral trade would hit the target of $100 billion by 2015. “We have discussed the issue of hike in import duty on power equipment. It is very much part of the agenda,” he said.

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