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India China partnership can rejuvenate Asia: Hu Jintao

Written by: Staff

Mumbai, Nov 23: Chinese President Hu Jintao today said the ''21st century would be a century of Asia'' if India and China worked together in partnership and peaceful coexistence.

Addressing the India-China Economic, Trade and Investment Cooperation summit, organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) here, Mr Hu, who is currently on a visit to India, said he endorsed the views of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that Asia was ''big enough'' for the development of both India and China.

''It is my sincere hope that the business communities of the two countries will be future oriented and work together to boost bilateral ties and contribute to the development of both the countries and rejuvenation of Asia,'' he added.

Recalling friendly ties between China and India since ancient times, the visiting President said in the new century, the two nations have maintained strong momentum of all-round growth and the launch of the China-India strategic and cooperative partnership for peace and prosperity last year marked a new stage in the growth of bilateral relations.

''We have set a goal for bilateral trade between the two countries so as to reach USD 40 billion in 2010 which was USD 18.7 in 2005,'' he said, adding that to achieve this goal, efforts should be made to improve the trade structure, increase technology content in commodities, expand trade and upgrade levels of cooperation.

Mr Hu said the development of ''our countries offers us good opportunities to deepen all round cooperation and achieve win win progress''. To accomplish this goal, he proposed five steps of which the first and foremost was expansion and upgradation of bilateral trade. In the second step, the President called for strengthening cooperation in key areas of information technology, energy, resources, infrastructure, science technology and agriculture which are mutually complementary and offer great potential for cooperation.

''We should explore business opportunities in these fields and nurture new growth to boost business ties. The Chinese government will continue to encourage competitive Chinese companies to make investment and do business in India and Indian companies are welcome to explore business opportunities in China,'' he added.

President Hu stressed the need to improve environment for trade and investment as the third step. ''We should take measures to remove obstacles to promote trade and investment and create healthy business environment,'' he said.

The two governments should create better conditions for bilateral economic and technological cooperation as well, he added.

President Hu, in his fourth point, stressed that China and India should strengthen coordination in the World Trade Organisation and multilateral economic organisations to jointly uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries. ''As important members of the Asia-Pacific trade agreement, we should work closely within this framework,'' he added.

He said China was an observer to SAARC and hoped that both China and India would use this platform to explore different opportunities.

The visiting President said both the countries have extensive common interests in international energy supply. ''We should encourage Chinese and Indian companies to extend energy cooperation to third countries and support them. They may also conduct joint project contracting in third countries by drawing on mutual strengths,'' he observed.

In his fifth and last point, Mr Hu said with strong economic complementary and huge trade potential, China and India have the basic conditions for establishing free trade relations.

''Establishment of a China-India free trade area will lift bilateral business relations to a higher level and promote regional economic integration in Asia,'' he observed.

China and India have started a joint feasibility study on regional trade arrangement and agreed to conclude the study by October 2007, he said and hoped that this would lay a good foundation for launching negotiations on regional trade agreement.


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