Industrial park tops PM's China agenda

Border row contentious, says Singh

Industrial park tops PM's China agenda

Expressing concern over “unsustainable imbalance” in trade with China, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday welcomed enhanced Chinese investment and a proposal to set up an industrial park in India to overcome a growing trade deficit.

“India faces an unsustainable imbalance in its trade with China. One of the ways of overcoming the trade deficit is for India to attract larger flows of Foreign Direct Investment from China,” Singh, who started his three-day visit here on Tuesday, said in an interview to the Chinese media.

Bilateral trade touched $66.5 billion last year. China’s exports to India accounted for $47.7 billion. The burgeoning trade deficit has touched almost $20 billion amid declining Indian export of raw materials like iron ore.

The prime minister also said the border dispute between India and China was not “an easy issue” and would take time to resolve.

“We are happy that more Chinese firms are looking at India as an investment destination. During his visit to India, Premier Li (Keqiang) suggested that we look at the option of establishing a Chinese Industrial Park in India where companies and firms from China could cluster together,” he said.
“We welcome this idea. Recently, a Chinese delegation visited India and had good discussions with our officials concerned. We have also shown them a few possible sites. We will work with the Chinese side in implementing the idea.” 

The prime minister also said the border dispute between India and China was not “an easy issue” and would take time to resolve.

“This is not an easy issue and will take time to resolve. The boundary question between India and China is complex and sensitive. We have established a special representatives (SR) mechanism to find a political solution to the boundary question,” he said.

To a question on a regional trading agreement (RTA) between both sides, Singh said commerce ministers of both nations would explore the idea. “There is a great deal of concern in the Indian industry due to the adverse trade deficit. When conditions are more propitious and trade is more even, we will find it more feasible to discuss an RTA or free-trade agreement between our countries,” Singh said. 

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