Eye on trade, India-China to explore ‘New Growth Points’

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India and China have decided to step up efforts to address trade-related issues, with President Xi Jinping telling Prime Minister Narendra Modi the two countries must add “new growth points” in sectors such as medicine and infrastructure.


During a meeting on the margins of the Brics (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit in Brasilia on Wednesday, Xi said China welcomes the import of “high quality” goods from India. The two leaders agreed on the importance of a close dialogue on trade and investment, India's external affairs ministry said in a statement.


Modi and Xi agreed the new High Level Mechanism on Trade and Economy “should meet at an early date”, the statement said. The mechanism, to be led by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua, was created when the two leaders held their second informal summit at Mamallapuram near Chennai last month.


“China welcomes India's increase in exports of high quality goods to China. The two sides should expand the scale of two-way trade and investment and create new growth points in production capacity, medicine, information technology and infrastructure construction,” Xi said.


India-China relations were jolted earlier this year by Beijing's strong support for Islamabad after New Delhi's August 5 decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir's special status and reorganise the state into two union territories. China also opposed the creation of the Union Territory of Ladakh.


However, the two sides set aside the Kashmir issue at the second informal summit and focused on improving trade ties. These efforts were followed up by the two leaders during their meeting in Brasilia, the third time they have met this year.


On the state of bilateral ties, Xi said he “is willing to maintain close communication with Modi to jointly steer the direction of China-India relations, increase political mutual trust, properly manage differences and expand practical cooperation so as to guide a better and more stable development of bilateral ties”.


Xi said he had a “successful meeting” with Modi in Mamallapuram, where there was “good in-depth communication on the international and regional situation and major issues in bilateral relations”.


A Chinese foreign ministry statement quoted Modi as telling Xi that the trust and the friendship between them have been strengthened and many important consensuses reached by them are being implemented.


It also quoted Modi as saying that India is ready to expand trade and investment and enhance cooperation in energy and other fields.


Modi and Xi noted the Special Representatives handling the boundary dispute will have another meeting and “reiterated the importance of maintaining peace and security in the border areas”, the external affairs ministry said. It could not immediately be ascertained when the meeting will be held.


The Special Representatives – National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and China foreign minister Wang Yi – were to meet in New Delhi in September but the meeting was postponed, with Beijing attributing the development to scheduling problems.


The meeting in Brasilia took place against the backdrop of India deciding not to join the China-backed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal comprising the 10 members of Asean and the grouping's dialogue partners. India attributed its decision to unresolved “core concerns”, with New Delhi saying the deal would have adversely impact the livelihoods of all Indians.


Xi invited Modi for the third informal summit in China in 2020, the date and venue for which will be determined through diplomatic channels.


The leaders also reviewed preparations for celebrating the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2020. They agreed this will enhance people-to-people ties.




Hindustantimes, 19 November 2019