16 Dec : Rejecting the “dragon” and “elephant” comparison made between China and India, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao on Wednesday said there is enough space for both the two Asian nations to develop and prosper.
“China and India are partners for cooperation and not rivals in competition. There is enough space in the world for the development of both China and India and there are enough areas for us to cooperate,” he said addressing industry leaders of the two countries at a meeting organised by the apex chambers in New Delhi.
He said some people described China and India as economic competitors and likened them to a dragon and an elephant.
“I don’t agree with such a view and I don’t think business people agree either,” Wen said.
He said both the countries stand to gain from economic cooperation.
With a combined population of 2.5 billion, which accounts for two-fifths of the world’s population, “We are both in process of rapid industrialisation and urbanisation accompanied by fast and sustainable economic growth.”
Making out a case for liberalising bilateral trade (about USD 49 billion till January-October 2010), Wen said, liberalisation of the markets hold huge potential for the domestic markets of the two countries.
“By opening markets to each other, we will be most dynamic economies and can support each other in economic development,” he said.
Though China has mooted the idea of free trade agreement, India has not favourably responded considering a huge trade imbalance to Indian industry.
The Chinese Premier is accompanied by a large delegation of business leaders from different sectors, mainly in the infrastructure areas.
Chinese cos ink pacts worth $16 bn with Indian firms: Wen
After multi-billion dollar deals with US and French companies, Indian businesses are inking USD 16 billion worth deals with China’s industry, whose representatives are accompanying Premier Wen Jiabao on his three-day India visit.
“The (investment and trade promotion) mission is scheduled to sign economic and trade agreement worth more than USD 16 billion with Indian companies,” Wen said in the presence of Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in New Delhi.
Addressing a gathering of Indian and Chinese Industry captains, the visiting premier said China is ready to work with India to increase the scale, and expand the scope of bilateral business cooperation.
With two-way trade between India and China poised to cross USD 60 billion this year, Wen said that during his meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh he would discuss ways to enhance it further.
“I will discuss with Prime Minister Singh, the ways to substantially increase our trade volume and set a new target in this regard,” he said.
There is enough scope for expansion of the bilateral trade as it accounted for a mere 0.2 per cent of the world’s total trade, he said, adding the two countries have completed a joint feasibility study for a regional trade agreement.
“Believing that this arrangement will benefit both sides, we look forward for the early launch of the negotiation process,” Wen said.
On India’s concerns on trade imbalance, he said China takes its “seriously”.
“China takes seriously the trade imbalance between our countries and stands ready to take further measures to facilitate the access of Indian IT products, pharmaceuticals and agro products to the Chinese market,” Wen said.
India had a trade imbalance of USD 19 billion with China in 2009-10.
Agreements, which will be signed during Wen’s visit include those between China Development Bank and Reliance Power, China Aluminium International Trading Co and Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, Bank of China and IDBI, Dongfang Electric Corporation Ltd and Abhijeet Projects Ltd.
Indian industry signed USD 10 billion worth business deals with US companies during President Barack Obama’s visit in November and followed it up with USD 13 billion dollar worth transactions with French business groups dueing President Nicholas Sasrkozy’s visit earlier this month.