‘We attach great importance to our ties with Russia and India’

Trade and personal ties with India are more important to China than resolving the border dispute, Chinese Ambassador to India Wei Wei said on Saturday.

Inaugurating the ‘Haat of India,’ a conference of more than 150 producers, sellers and exporters from both countries here, Mr. Wei said that there were several historic issues that had to be resolved between the two countries. “While we pay attention to our border disputes, we must pay more attention to people-to-people contact and improving relations. Land disputes are flagging problems. We must give more attention to economic and cultural relations, which are more important than political and strategic ties,” he said.

This would create a constructive environment for future development of bilateral ties, he said. “China has borders with 14 countries of which we attach great importance to our relationship with Russia and India,” he said. He pointed out that trade between China and India last year was $66 billion. “Our collective population is 2.5 billion, yet we have as much trade with Singapore that has a population of five million,” he said. It would be difficult to touch the 2015 target of $100 billion even by 2020.

Last year’s trade deficit in favour of China was $28 billion. It reached $24.7 billion by September, this year. Indian exports to China have seen a 22.5 per cent drop until September.

“We are looking for industrial parks on the lines of what China has. These are different from what India has. China gives much more security to industry,” he said... The larger investment environment in India is difficult to change and is beyond our reach. What we can do is to create a China style park here,” Mr. Wei said adding that visits to M.P. and other States were primarily to find a location for such a park.

Liu Bin, Deputy Director of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, told The Hindu that Chinese parks received tax holidays and assistance in construction. “They are very large and have all the suppliers in one place considerably reducing costs,” he said. Mr. Wei told Chinese delegates that they need to “cross the river feeling the rocks” when investing in India. “You must cooperate more with the State rather than the Central government here. You need to be patient and not leave what you have started, to succeed,” he advised. The MP government has offered five probable sites in Bhopal, Indore and Gwalior districts. Chief Secretary Anthony De Sa said that M.P.’s location offered logistical advantages, besides the State’s record agricultural growth of 13.33 per cent in 2013 has huge potential for agro industries.

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