The 11th Session of China-India Joint Group of Economy and Trade Held in India

On March 26, Chinese Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan and Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu co-chaired the 11th session of China-India Joint Group of Economy and Trade in New Delhi, India.

Zhong Shan said that the 19th National Congress of the CPC established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era as the guiding ideology, and set the goal of comprehensively building the moderately prosperous society, and launching the new journey of comprehensively building a socialist and modernized country. The just concluded “Two Session” elected a new generation of leaders. Secretary-General Xi Jinping was elected as the President of the People Republic of China and Chairman of the Central Military Commission. The two sessions also passed some important acts like the amendments to the Constitution, and launched the organization reform of the State Council. According to the deployment of the 19th National Congress of the CPC, China will push forward the formation of the new pattern of comprehensive opening up, deepen “Belt and Road” international cooperation, and promote trade and investment liberalization and facilitation, which will surely bring new opportunities for China-India economic and trade practical cooperation.

Zhongshan pointed out that development is the common strategic goal of China and India. Continuously consolidating and deepening China-India economic and trade relation is an unalterable policy of China. Under the concerns of the leaders of the two countries and the joint efforts of the two countries, China-India economic and trade cooperation witnessed obvious achievements. In 2017, the bilateral trade volume reached US$ 84.4 billion, up 20.3% year on year, hitting a new historical high. China is still the largest trade partner of India. China’s import from India increased by almost 40%, and the bilateral trade became more balanced. China-India investment and cooperation are heating up. The actual investment of Chinese enterprises in India was over US$ 8 billion, and the annual growth of Indian enterprises’ investment in China reached 18.5% in recent 3 years. The two countries cooperate closely and support each other in the field of multilateral trading system and regional economic cooperation, making important contributions jointly to the construction of international economic new order and safeguarding the interests of developing countries.

Zhong Shan pointed out seven suggestions to further deepen bilateral economic and trade cooperation. 1. To strengthen the docking of development strategies. China is willing to, together with India, promote the docking of the Chinese “Belt and Road” construction and international cooperation and Indian development strategies like “Fifteen-Year Development vision”, “Made in India” and “Digital India” so as to deepen reciprocal cooperation and share development experience. 2. To welcome India to participate in China International Import Expo. China is willing to provide preferential measures to Indian participating enterprises, and hopes that India will promote its export to China through the Import Expo, so as to solve the problems of unbalanced trade. 3. To promote China-India trade and investment cooperation. He made the suggestion of establishing the work group of smooth trade, and making general plans to promote China-India trade cooperation. To promote the current work group of industrial parks to the work group of investment cooperation and convene a meeting at the appropriate time. To study and launch the upgrading negotiation of bilateral investment agreement, and make efforts to reach a high quality bilateral investment agreement. 4. To strengthen communication and coordination in the field of trade remedy. China hopes to convene the 4th meeting of the trade remedy cooperation mechanism, make researches on measures to properly resolve trade disputes. 5. To optimize the environment of fair competition of Chinese products in India. China hopes that India will safeguard the legal interests and personal and property security of Chinese enterprises and staff in India, and create a fair, just and opening business environment. 6. To carry out human resources cooperation. China is willing to strengthen the development and cooperation in human resources of all fields with India, and discuss how to carry out related cooperation through the third party. 7. To strengthen multilateral and regional economic cooperation. Recently, some individual WTO member countries took unilateral and restrictive trade measures in the name of national security, bringing severe challenges to multilateral trading mechanism. China is willing to, together with India, safeguard and support multilateral trading system and protect the interests of developing members. China is also willing to show the flexibility with India, reach a modern, comprehensive, high quality and reciprocal RCEP agreements as soon as possible, and promote the 2nd amendment to the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement to enter into effect as soon as possible. China hopes that India will consider launching the China-India regional trade arrangement or free trade negotiation at the right time, so as to promote the in-depth development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

Suresh Prabhu said that India is willing to implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries together with China, dock development strategies and share development experience. India will learn from China’s experience in establishing special economic zones, and focus on the bilateral cooperation in industrial parks. He welcomed Chinese enterprises to invest in India and expand their market share in India. He hoped that China would take practical measures to narrow trade deficit, promote bilateral cooperation in trade of agricultural products, medicines and information technology products, and expand and promote the scale and level of bilateral trade. India supports multilateral trading system, and is willing to strengthen communication and coordination with China under the WTO and multilateral and regional trade framework like RCEP. This is to safeguard and promote the development of regional and international trade, and protect the multilateral trading system. Besides, India is willing to promote the cultural exchange, and expand bilateral cooperation in tourism, films and television and human resources development.

Before the meeting, Chinese Ministry of Commerce and Indian Ministry of Industry and Commerce held a promotion and introduction meeting for China International Import Expo and the Signing Ceremony of China-India Trade Projects. The enterprises of the two countries signed 101 trade agreements with the accumulated contract volume reaching US$ 2.368 billion.

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