China may top US as India's lead trade partner
By Li Jing (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-04-18 08:49
China will likely emerge as India's largest trading partner, overtaking the
United States within a few years, with the two-way trade hitting US$100 billion
in the near future, predicts a senior Indian businessman.
Poddar, president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
(FICCI), said yesterday in Beijing that "tremendous potentials" exist in regards
to bilateral trade between the world's two fastest-growing economies.
trade between China and India last year hit a record of US$18.7 billion, jumping
38 per cent year-on-year.
If the growth is sustained, the bilateral trade
could soon overtake Indo-US trade, which is hovering around US$30 billion, said
Poddar, who is leading a FICCI CEO delegation in China this week.
Poddar said in order to carry on the robust growth, it is crucial to diversify
the Indian export basket from primary products to manufactured items and
India's exports to China now are largely restricted
to primary and resource-based products, such as iron ore exports, which
constitute more than half of India's total exports to China.
"One of my
tasks this time in China is trying to find ways to diversify the export basket,
especially increasing the proportion of high value-added products," Poddar told
This week's visit by the FICCI delegation, which is composed
of a dozen representatives from modern Indian industries, is regarded as a
crucial step for the sustainable long-term growth of Sino-Indian
Poddar said the delegation members come from a wide range of
industries, including fertilizer, energy, food processing, petrochemicals,
textile and tobacco sectors.
"We have diversified interests and are
looking for opportunities in different fields," Poddar said, adding that the
delegation would visit Xi'an, capital of Northwest China's Shaanxi Province, and
Shanghai this week, exchanging views with local businesspeople on the Chinese
Poddar said India and China, dubbed the "double engines" of
economic development in Asia, would further benefit if they had a closer
relationship with each other.
"The two countries have many complementary
aspects and we can learn from each other," Poddar said. "China's development
depends highly on foreign trade and investment, while India mainly lies on the
growth of domestic enterprises. Each of us can draw experience from the
Poddar called it "very natural" for the two populous countries
to be rivals in the world's economic arena.
"Even Indian companies
themselves are competing one another. Competition makes us have the best Chinese
enterprises and the best Indian enterprises."
When talking about the
feasibility of reaching a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and China,
Poddar said it would happen in the future, but it is still premature for
"We need to understand each other better before such an agreement is
reached," Poddar said. "It takes time."
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