Though trade between India and China slowed down last year, it is around $ 66 billion, and is tilted heavily against India.

India will seek to press its case for improving the balance of trade with China during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit here.

Though trade between India and China slowed down last year, it is around $ 66 billion, and is tilted heavily against India. Officials said both sides are already engaged in finding ways to redress this.

Signalling India’s seriousness on this issue, Planning Commission chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who heads a strategic economic dialogue with his Chinese counterpart to identify and diversify economic co-operation between the two countries, is to join Prime Minister Singh’s delegation here.

India wants to push for greater market access in certain sectors such as pharmaceuticals and Information Technology, and government sources said the Chinese have promised to consider this positively.

In turn, the Chinese are said to be interested in setting up a Special economic Zone in India, and a team visited earlier this month to scout for sites. The Chinese side is also suggesting they set up manufacturing in India, so that they can sell in the Indian market and also abroad, officials said.

Some of the imbalance, officials said, was inevitable after India stopped exporting iron ore. The Indian private sector, on the other hand, imports heavy equipment from China. The Indian private sector, for instance, has imported equipment for nearly 60000 MW of power production.

“We don’t have an equivalent on our side,” said an Indian official.

But the Indian side has proposed that the Chinese source goods and services from India, and “things that India does well” for the infrastructure projects they undertake back home and in other parts of the world.

Aside from the strategic economic dialogue, there is a CEOs’ forum which is also looking at improving the trade balance.

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