Trade between India and China, which grew 47 per cent to reach $37.8 billion in 2007-08, is likely to cross the $100-billion mark in the next five years, even as trade balance remains in favour of China.
"China is now India's No1 trade partner with figures expected to cross $50 billion this year and double in the next five years," commerce secretary GK Pillai told a joint press conference with Chinese vice-chairman of commerce Gao Hucheng.
Gao is in Delhi with a 60-member business delegation and is expected to sign deals worth hundreds of millions of dollars in sectors such as chemicals, textiles, general electric equipment, minerals, steel and cement.
Representatives from the two countries also signed an agreement aimed at ensuring transparency and better understanding of technical and other matters related to anti-dumping and trade barriers.
Anti-dumping is a trade law that enables action to be taken against goods being exported at unfairly low prices. India had imposed the maximum measures and ordered the highest number of probes into dumping by different countries, including China, between July 1 and Dec 31, 2007.
The two sides are also keen to increase cooperation in the area of infrastructure, especially telecommunication, power generation and transport.
"We want more trade ties between the two countries. We would expand cross-border trade issues with India," Gao Hucheng said, adding that huge business deals were in offing between the two countries.
Interacting with the Chinese Prime Minister Gao Hucheng, commerce and industries minister Kamal Nath said that both India and China have enormous opportunities to expand trade in services, particularly in construction and engineering, education, entertainment, financial services, IT & IT-enabled services, transport, tourism and health.
Both sides discussed about holding the 8th Joint Economic Group (JEG) at a mutually convenient date. The 7th JEG meeting was held in March 2006.
After the opening of the third border trade point between India and China, the China has been keen to expand the scope of trade through Nathu La.
In July 2007, India had proposed the addition of 24 more commodities tradable through Nathu La, mainly food items. The Chinese had proposed 36 commodities including machinery, motor cycles and electrical appliances.
Top sectors attracting FDI inflows from China during January 2000 to March 2008 were trade, industrial machinery, mining, hotel and tourism, and drugs and pharmaceuticals. The top sectors attracting technology from China are metallurgical industries, chemicals (other than fertilisers), electrical equipments, industrial machinery and drugs and pharmaceuticals.
Yesterday commerce secretary G K Pillai and from vice minister Gao Hucheng signed a memorandum of understanding on India-China Trade Remedy Cooperation Mechanism, aimed at improving bilateral trade.