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India, China set for closer economic ties

Special Correspondent

Consultations to be intensified in crucial areas


  • Both countries to diversify trade basket
  • Joint exploration for hydrocarbon resources

    — Photo: R. V. Moorthy.

    WIDENING COOPERATION: Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath (right), exchanging documents after signing an agreement with Li Changjiang, Administrator, AQSIQ, watched by Chinese President Hu Jintao in New Delhi on Tuesday.

    NEW DELHI: India and China have set a course for closer economic engagement by fixing a target for doubling bilateral trade flows to $40 billion by 2010, while studying the prospects of a regional trading arrangement. The joint declaration issued here on Tuesday also envisages collaboration in areas like oil and gas exploration as well as information and communication technology where the two countries are competing globally for business.

    Consultations will be intensified in crucial areas of managing river water resources as well as agriculture and sustainable development.

    The declaration issued after talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao, says "both sides believe that comprehensive economic and commercial engagement between India and China is a core component of their strategic and cooperative partnership". Setting a target of raising bilateral trade flows to $40 billion by 2010, it goes on to stress that the two countries will make joint efforts "to diversify their trade basket, remove existing impediments, and utilise the present and potential complementarities to sustain and strengthen bilateral commercial and economic cooperation."

    In a bid to provide greater comfort to both Indian and Chinese investors, a Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (BIPPA) has been signed by Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath and Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai.

    In addition, a Joint Task Force has been directed to expedite its study of the feasibility and benefits of India-China Regional Trading Arrangement and submit the report by October 2007. The two countries, which have been competing globally to acquire oil and gas fields, have now also agreed to implement the provisions of the memorandum on cooperation in oil and gas signed in January this year. They would encourage collaboration between their enterprises, including through joint exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources in third countries.

    The declaration also says that the two sides will step up the exchange of experience in agriculture and rural development, including food security, and hold discussions on the standards for agricultural goods to facilitate trade in such goods.

    Regarding the stalled Doha round of trade negotiations, both countries stressed the need to secure an early resumption of talks, placing the development dimension at the heart.

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