India, China to set up joint group to resolve visa issues

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New Delhi, Aug 27: India today raised its concerns over widening trade deficit with China which flagged its worries on visa rules and duty hike on power equipment imports by New Delhi.

The two countries agreed to set up a joint working group to resolve these concerns and strengthen economic cooperation.

These issues came up for discussion at the meeting of the India-China Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology, attended by the respective commerce ministers.

India's Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said that a Joint Working Group will be established soon and it will give its recommendations and assessments in 90 days.

He said China has assured India of addressing concerns over several issues, like adverse trade deficit, market access for Indian IT and pharma products. Both the sides agreed to "seriously" look at encouraging mutual investment, he added.

He invited Chinese companies to invest in the proposed National Investment and Manufacturing Zones (NMIZs). "I am very happy that the response has been very positive and encouraging," he said.

"We have also agreed to work on a five-year plan on economic cooperation. This has been proposed by Chen Deming (the visiting Chinese minister) and we welcomed and endorsed that. We have identified focal points and nodal authorities who will be working to put the development plan," Sharma said.

Addressing a joint press briefing, Deming said during the time of global economic crisis, there was a need for strengthening India-China economic relationship. He also expressed the hope that bilateral trade will achieve the target of USD 100 billion by 2015.

"Yes indeed. It was in the agenda that we discussed," Deming said when asked whether China has raised its concern over the duty hike by Indian on power equipment imports.

China is a major supplier of power equipment to India. The government has recently raised the import duty to 21 per cent to protect domestic players.

According to the provisional data, the trade deficit of USD 39.65 billion was in China's favour.

PTI

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