The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Free-trade chant rises

New Delhi, April 11: China is expected to emerge as one of India's largest trading partners with the two countries planning to shoot for a bilateral trade target of $30 billion by 2010.

The two countries ' which along with Brazil and Russia form the famous BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) axis of the best emerging economies ' are also proposing to start work on a feasibility study to establish a regional trade agreement (RTA) between themselves.

The two nations are independently pursuing the idea of establishing a free-trade arrangement with the 12-member Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean) and an RTA between them will help create a pan-Asia common market of close to 3 billion consumers, almost half the world's population.

'We have set an objective (in the joint statement) to increase the two-way trade volume from $13.6 billion at present to $20 billion by 2008,' said Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. 'We plan to take it to $30 billion by 2010.'

Addressing industry captains at a joint meeting organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci), Wen outlined a five-point agenda in which he called for reducing trade barriers and enhancing multilateral ties.

India and China today developed a five-year plan on economic development of the two countries. Wen also said the two countries had decided on inking an agreement on guiding principles of settlement of the boundary question.

Agreeing to work together in the area of energy security and on the World Trade Organisation for an 'open, fair, equitable and transparent rule-based multilateral trade system', a joint statement was signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Premier Wen in the capital today.

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