Focus to be on opportunities for ‘pragmatic cooperation', macroeconomic outlook

The first-ever India-China Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) will take place in Beijing on September 26-27, said a simultaneous announcement from both countries.

The Indian side will be led by Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, and the Chinese side by Zhang Ping, Chairman, National Development and Reform Commission. The Indian delegation will include representatives of the Planning Commission, Ministries of Railways, Water Resources, External Affairs, Power, New and Renewable Energy and the Departments of Commerce, Information Technology and Industrial Policy and Promotion.

The decision to conduct a SED was taken during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in December last year. Discussions during the first strategic dialogue will focus on plan formulation and implementation in India and China, the global economic outlook, efficient use of water resources, energy efficiency & pricing, and potential cooperation in the Railways sector.

The dialogue would help boost economic cooperation between both countries, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hong Lei said at a press briefing in Beijing on Friday.

Mr. Hong said representatives from both nations would focus on the macroeconomic outlook, communication and coordination on economic policy-making, as well as other opportunities for “pragmatic cooperation”.

Indian officials in Beijing said the strategic dialogue would provide a new platform for both countries to better understand how policies are made by each other's governments. The mechanism, officials said, would pave the way for more specific engagement on issues that both sides have, as yet, been unable to devote enough attention to, from cooperation in agriculture and water-management to currency policies.

The dialogue will not discuss the growing list of sensitive trade issues both countries are grappling with against the backdrop of a fast-widening trade imbalance in China's favour. Indian officials have, in recent months, had little success in convincing China to open up its markets to Indian IT, pharmaceuticals and engineering products, with the deficit reaching $14 billion seven months into this year, on track to surpass last year's record figure of $20 billion.

‘Big picture issues'

Indian officials said the Joint Economic Group dialogue mechanism, led by both Commerce Ministers, will handle issues related to trade, with the strategic dialogue instead focusing on “big picture” issues, with the aim of looking at how the two economies could better work together and leverage their common interests.

RELATED NEWS

India, China to open up marketsSeptember 26, 2011