Trade deficit with China has to be rectified: PM

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New Delhi, Jan 16 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said the trade deficit with China has to be rectified, but made it clear that it should be corrected by building up the strength of the Indian industry.

Talking to reporters late last night on his way back to Delhi from Beijing, Dr Singh said there were elements in the Indian tax policy and public policy which hurt the competitiveness of the country's industry, ''so it is our duty to correct those things.'' He promised that the governmnet would adddress those concerns, but beyond that the Indian industry has to think big.

''It is nothing new.In 1991 also the big barons took to the Bombay plan to start the reform process,b ut look at now the very confident new class of entreprenuers who are the children of the reform process.'' Dr Singh exuded confidence that given a proper macro economic environment, Indian industry has the ability, the will and the resilience to meet the challenge of competition in India, Third World countries and China.

The growing trade deficit against India was the main cause of concern among businessmen. During Dr Singh's China visit, the issue was taken up with the Chinese leadership and the business communuty.

Encouraged by the rising bilateral trade volumes, the two sides have revised the trade target to 60 billion US Dollars against earlier target of 40 billion US Dollars by 2010. Bilateral trade registered a 54 per cent growth year on year with a trade deficit of 9.02 billion US dollars for India.

Dr Singh said a report on possibilities of a Regional Trade Agreement between the two countries was being examined by the working groups under the Commerce Ministers of the two sides.

During the high-level talks, the Chinese side took up the issue of market economy status while the Indian side made references to non-tariff barriers and restrictions on exports or imports of agricultural commodities, Dr Singh added.

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