China and India Pledge to Boost Trade and Economic Cooperation

China and India pledged on Monday to further enhance their trade and economic cooperation so as to build a new international economic order and safeguard the interests of developing countries.

Addressing the 11th meeting of China-India Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said that the trade volume between China and India reached a record high of USD84.4 billion in 2017, up by 20.3% from the previous year.

China has remained as India’s largest trading partner, he added. Bilateral investment has also seen a steady increase, the minister said. The accumulated investment in India by Chinese enterprises amounted to over USD8 billion while India’s investment in China rose an average of 18.5% annually over the past three years.

“Both countries have closely cooperated and supported each other in the multilateral trading system and regional economic cooperation and contributed greatly to the joint building of a new international economic order and safeguarding of the interests of developing countries,” said Zhong.

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The Chinese minister put forward a seven-point proposal to further develop the China-India trade and economic cooperation:

First, connecting development strategies. China is willing to join hands with India in dovetailing the Belt and Road Initiative with India’s 15-year Vision Plan, “Make in India” and Digital India programs.

Second, welcoming India’s participation in the China International Import Expo (CIIE) to be held in November in Shanghai. China hopes India could increase its exports to China by taking part in the CIIE.

Third, enhancing bilateral trade and investment. China proposes establishing a trade facilitation joint working group and upgrading the joint working group on industrial parks to investment cooperation.

Fourth, strengthening communication in trade remedies. China is expected to hold the 4th meeting of trade remedy cooperation mechanism as soon as possible and mulls specific measures to properly settle trade disputes.

Fifth, improving the business environment for Chinese products. China hopes the Indian authorities to earnestly protect the rights and safety of Chinese enterprises as well as its properties and staff.

Sixth, conducting cooperation on human resources. China is willing to expand cooperation in the development of human resources.

Seventh, boosting multilateral and regional economic cooperation. China is ready to jointly send a positive signal together with India in safeguarding and supporting the multilateral trading system. China also hopes for an early signing of the high-quality and mutually beneficial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu expressed willingness to jointly implement the consensus reached by leaders of both countries and connect the development strategies of both sides and share the development experiences.

He said that India would learn from China’s experiences in setting up special economic zones and push forward the cooperation in industrial park projects. India welcomes Chinese businesses to increase investment and boost their market share in India, said the Indian minister.

Prabhu said India supports the multilateral trading system and wishes to strengthen communication and coordination with China within the frameworks such as the World Trade Organization and RCEP, in a bid to maintain and boost the development of regional and global trade.

Earlier, the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry jointly made promotions on the upcoming CIIE. During Zhong’s tour in India, businesses of both countries signed 101 trade agreements, with a total contract value of USD2.368 billion.

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