The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Talks-and-Tangra schedule for China team

Calcutta, Aug. 3: If a business delegation from the land of dragons descends on Bengal ruled by the Left, expectations soar and preparations are on a high.

From flying in interpreters for business deliberations to organising a trip to Tangra for a home-away-from-home feeling, the Confederation of Indian Industry and the state government are leaving no stones unturned to make the visit memorable for the 76-member Chinese team.

“We are finding it difficult to get professional interpreters (here) and that’s why we are flying in people from Delhi. Besides, we will also take help from some local amateur interpreters to facilitate exchanges during the meetings,” said Amitabh Khosla, the regional director of CII eastern region.

Besides, provisions are also being made for 250 simultaneous interpretation equipment to enable exchanges on opportunities in sectors like engineering, drugs and pharmaceuticals, auto components, services, information technology, steel, plastics, toys, textiles and chemicals.

The apex chamber is bringing in the biggest ever business delegation from China to town. According to the itinerary, the team, including businessmen and government representatives, will reach here on August 5 and spend two days.

Headed by Shao Qiwei, vice-governor, Yunan province, the Chinese will participate in a business conclave on August 6. Mixing pleasure with business, the team will also go around the city. China Town in Tangra and the usual tourist destinations would be part of the tour map.

“India-China bilateral trade grew by 53.8 per cent in 2003 and reached $7.59 billion with a trade surplus of $900 million. We expect the trade volume to go up to $10 billion by the end of 2004 and such exchanges will facilitate the fostering of economic ties between the two countries,” said Ravi Poddar, the vice-chairman of CII eastern region.

But the focus of the discussions in Calcutta will be exchanges between Bengal and China. Along with the CII brass, including president Sunil K. Munjal and senior members like Jamshed J. Irani and Y.C. Deveshwar, chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee and industries and commerce minister Nirupam Sen will attend the meeting and pitch for investment in the state.

“But the government will have to try really hard as the Chinese companies are more interested in expanding markets at this moment. They are interested in India, but topping their agenda is selling their goods,” said K.P.V. Nair, who is doing business with Yunan province for the past 30 years.

Realising the opportunity at hand, the government is walking the extra mile to make the meeting successful. Not just keeping track of the arrangements, the government — giving top priority to the meet — has hired experts to prepare customised presentations for the Chinese delegation.

“Though the chief minister was initially scheduled to join the meeting around 12 noon, he changed the decision after learning that the leader of the delegation will deliver his speech at 10.45 am. He will now be at the venue from the beginning,” said Khosla. Bhattacharjee will also have a closed-door meeting with Shao.

Though both the government and the CII are rolling out the best possible hospitality for the visiting team, the food on the day of the mega meeting will be Indian. “We want to give them a taste of Bengal,” said Khosla.

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