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China keen on inking trade agreement during PM's visit

Anirban Bhaumik , New Delhi, Oct 3, 2013, DHNS: 2:17 IST
Beijing is keen to ink a regional trade arrangement with New Delhi during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to China later this month, although a cautious India wants the communist country to do more to address its concerns on imbalance in bilateral commerce.

Trade and economic issues are expected to be high on the agenda of discussion during prime minister’s visit to Beijing in the fourth week of this month. China has been stepping up pressure on India to announce the launch of the negotiation on a bilateral trading agreement during the visit. New Delhi, however, is still cagey, although it has of late taken note of the measures initiated by the communist country to address the issue of imbalance in India-China trade.

Singh is set to visit Beijing at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who visited New Delhi in May – soon after an incursion by the China’s People’s Liberation Army into the Indian side of the Line of Actual Control at Depsang Bulge in Ladakh that led to a three-week-long border stand-off. This is the first time since 1954 that India and China will have exchanges of visits by the two countries’ top leaders in a year.

Recent MoUs

A business matchmaking symposium in New Delhi late last month saw the companies of the two countries signing as many as 15 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth $ 338 million, mostly for supply of zinc and copper concentrates, cotton yarn and cotton linter, frozen fish, methanol, castor oil and gaur gum, granite blocks and cedrus deodara seed from India to China. The two countries are likely to hold such events in other cities too.

When Li came to New Delhi in May, India and China signed three MoUs on buffalo meat, fisheries and pharmaceuticals and an agreement on feed and feed ingredients. New Delhi hopes that the implementation of the three MoUs will help lessen the trade deficit. China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health Products and Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India, too, inked another MoU, which is expected to help Indian generic drugs get market access in China.

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