labels: economy - general, trade
China mulls free trade talks with India as foreign trade volume hits $1.7 trillion news
06 November 2006
Mumbai: China is considering the possibility of establishing a free trade area (FTA) with India even as it expects a 20-per cent rise in its foreign trade volume at $1.7 trillion.

"Following the reopening of the trade post on the Indian-Chinese border, our government is considering FTA talks with India," assistant minister of commerce Fu Ziying said at the 2007 China Industrial Development Forum in Beijing. "We have to follow economic globalisation trends and push for the liberalisation and facilitation of trade," he added.

He said China's foreign trade has maintained rapid growth in the first nine months, with import and export volume increasing by 24.3 per cent to $1.27 trillion. China's exports totaled $691.2 billion, up 26.5 per cent from the same period last year, and imports reached $581.4 billion, up 21.7 per cent.

Fu said the country's foreign trade rose from the sixth to the third in world rankings in the past five years, with imports and exports volume growing at an average annual rate of 24.6 percent

China is currently holding free trade talks with Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan as well as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

With a combined population of 1.7 billion, the China-ASEAN FTA will be the biggest FTA in the world when it becomes operational in 2010. An FTA between China and India, the world's most and second most populous nations, would benefit as many as 2.4 billion people.

Trade between the two Asian giants, both among the world's fastest growing economies, has expanded quickly in recent years.

Bilateral trade surged 37.5 per cent to reach $18.73 billion in 2005. It is expected to hit $20 billion this year.

India and China reopened cross-border trade at the Nathu La Pass in the Himalayas last July, 44 years after trade ended in the wake of a short border war between them.

China has targeted foreign trade volume of $2.3 trillion in 2010, with an annual growth of 10 per cent.

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China mulls free trade talks with India as foreign trade volume hits $1.7 trillion