PM, Wen discuss trade imbalance

Singh invites Chinese investment in infra sector

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday invited Chinese investments in the infrastructure sector while conveying India’s concerns over trade imbalance to his counterpart Wen Jiabao, who said this could be addressed “gradually.”

India and China will be holding the second Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) in Delhi later this month with an aim of enhancing business engagement between the two of the fastest growing economies.

After the SED, a date will be decided for the next round of talks between Special Representatives of the two countries on boundary and other issues, to be held in China shortly.

At the 40-minute meeting here on the sidelines of ASEAN Summit, the two leaders discussed a wide range of subjects including economic cooperation, boundary issue, defence, maritime security, besides international matters.

Both the leaders agreed that there is enough space for both India and China to develop while expanding cooperation between them. Wen said this was the guiding principle of his country’s approach towards India.

“The economic engagement was given a great deal of importance by the Prime Minister in his remarks,” Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai told journalists while briefing on the “fruitful and detailed” meeting, the 15th between the two leaders during the last eight years.

Singh emphasised that he was committed to working for realisation of “full potential” of economic cooperation between the two countries, Mathai said.

Singh referred to Indian exports and “emphasised the need for greater market access for Indian exports particularly in areas like services, IT and pharma,” Mathai said.

“The Prime Minister also welcomed Chinese investment in infrastructure sector which he said would help create employment and help bridging trade deficit between the two countries,” he said.

Wen responded by saying he was, “looking forward to gradual balancing of trade and they (China) were cognizant of India’s particular interest in these areas.”  India has been concerned over the expanding trade imbalance which is in favour of China and now stands at $ 23 billion.

Singh noted that the two countries will be having Strategic Economic Dialogue in the end of November.

This will be led by Deputy Chairman Planning Commission on the Indian side and the head of the National Development Commission from Chinese side and subjects to be covered would include cooperation in various sectors like energy.

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