SHANGHAI, Aug. 19 – Business and government delegates from India and China met today in Shanghai at a forum to discuss cooperation strategies and India’s growth potential for Chinese investors as the two nations celebrate 60 years of diplomatic relations.
Calling China and India the “world’s oldest trade partnership,” S. Jaishankar, India’s ambassador to China, told the “India Business Forum” that relations between the two nations were better and broader than they had ever been.
“Business in India and China must focus on relationships,” Jaishankar said, speaking at the inaugural sessions of the forum, which was hosted by the Indian Ministry of Commerce and Industry and a collection of Indian industry associations including the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the Confederation of Indian Industry.
The Indian embassy in China has been pushing Indian business to increase their marketing in China and has been holding forums like the one held today in Shanghai to help enhance communication between businesses in the two countries.
“India has much to learn from China,” said B. Muthuraman, the vice president of the Confederation of Indian Industry, in his opening remarks to the approximately 400 senior representatives from Chinese and Indian companies at the forum. It is even more important to “build trust and a strategic relationship,” he said.
China became India’s largest trading partner in 2008 and bilateral trade between the two countries has grown explosively in the last 10 years. In 2000, trade amounted to just below US$3 billion and by 2008 it had grown to US$51.47 billion. Bilateral trade reached US$32 billion in the first half of 2010 and is expected to exceed US$60 billion by the end of the year.
While Chinese imports are still an important part of India’s trade strategy, the country is keen to boost Indian industry and exports to the mainland. “Indian business should be in China,” Jaishankar said, while at the same time, Chinese businesses should be “more open to Indian opportunities.”
The Indian government hopes China will lower tariffs on the imports of Indian manufactured equipment and agricultural products.
“The opportunities,” Jaishankar said of India and China’s growing relationship, “exceed the challenges.”
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