Huge Chinese trade team to accompany Jiabao to India

Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, April 9:

Accompanied by a 120-member trade delegation, Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is expected to give new directions to boost bilateral economic and cultural ties with India during his four-day long visit from today. An assortment of companies from large players like telecom major ZTE, Sino Steel, Huawei and Dalian Shide to small and medium firms will be represented in the team coming to primarily explore trade opportunities.

“The Chinese companies are seriously looking both for complementarity and investment opportunities. They view this as an opportunity to understand each other’s potential better,” said Sunil Kumar Misra, who heads the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) East Asia representative office in Shanghai. “During his visit, the Chinese premier is expected to give direction on a variety of activities and initiate steps that will increase people to people and business contacts,” Misra said. Some of the initiatives expected include better air connectivity

to promote both business and leisure travel, and more cultural and student exchange programmes.

“These are expected to help in reducing the knowledge gap that currently exists,” said Misra. Though the bilateral trade between India and China has grown by leaps from around $1 billion a decade back to $13.6 billion in 2004-05, up by 79.1 per cent from the previous year, Misra feels there is still considerable information gap that needs to be bridged. Last five years has seen exchange of several delegations on both sides. In 2003, CII opened its office in Shanghai with a representative office in Beijing. This has helped to catalyse more exchange of visits.

Last year while six Indian delegations visited China, double that number came from the other side. In fact, the India-China Business Conclave held here saw participation by a 105-strong Chinese team. In October, the CII is planning to hold a repeat of its successful Made In India show at Beijing.