Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday assured India Inc that China was ready to open its markets to Indian pharma and agricultural products and infotech services as part of measures to bring down India's soaring trade deficit with its Asian neighbour.
"China and India are partners for co-operation, not rivals in competition. There is enough space in the world for the development of both countries," Wen said in his address at the India-China Business Cooperation Summit. "I do not agree with the dragon versus elephant comparison between Indian and China that has been made out in the media," he added.
"By opening markets to each other, we will be the most dynamic economies and can support each other in economic development," he said. However, although China has floated the idea of a free trade agreement (FTA), India has to first address the issue of the huge trade imbalance, which is likely to cross $20 billion this year.
The business summit was the first engagement of the Chinese Premier as he visits India after five years. He is accompanied by a delegation of more than 300 leading Chinese business leaders who at the meeting signed 47 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with Indian firms involving an investment of over $16 billion in sectors ranging from telecom to power equipment.
Wen said China would also provide a platform for Indian firms to promote their products at various trade fairs. He said he wanted to take the economic-co-operation between India and China to a much higher level by increasing two-way trade and investment. Wen disclosed that he would, in his discussions with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seek raising of the bilateral trade targets from the current level of $60 billion.
Wen pointed out that both India and China had a sound investment environment, which was reflected in the high foreign direct investment (FDI) flows that both nations receive. However, the mutual FDI flow between the two countries was less than $700 million and there was scope for substantially increasing this amount.