We are open to investments, India tells China

Ananth Krishnan Beijing | Updated on November 25, 2017 Published on June 29, 2014

Commerce Minister, Chinese counterpart to ink MoU for industrial parks today

Ahead of Monday’s trade talks in Beijing — the first at the ministerial-level between the new Government in New Delhi and China — Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Seetharaman has said that the Narendra Modi Government would underline its intent to create a more open investment environment for foreign firms, from China and elsewhere, starting with a landmark agreement to set up at least four Chinese industrial parks in India.

Seetharaman and her counterpart Gao Hucheng will on Monday sign an MoU that will for the first time establish a formal framework for Chinese companies to invest in dedicated industrial parks. Four such parks are on the cards, once Chinese companies decide on the locations. Seetharaman said she would have a clear message for her Chinese interlocutors. “When we are inviting investment we cannot be sitting on a ton load of bureaucratic difficulty,” she said. “We are inviting investment with the sense that ease of business is important.”

She said there was “immense scope” for Chinese investment, “not just for manufacturing but many sectors where the Chinese have an advantage. Whether manufacturing or railways, we could always find out more such areas where Chinese investments can be encouraged”.

Rising expectations

Modi’s election victory has spurred rising expectations in China that India will become more investment-friendly, amid perceptions here that the Indian market has been, in recent years, less than welcoming to Chinese investment. Chinese investment in India, till date, totals $1.1 billion, according to Beijing’s figures.

“Our efforts are towards fulfilling that kind of expectation, not just from Chinese but within India too, we want to restore confidence in the economy,” the Commerce Minister said. Seetharaman said greater Chinese investment, for instance through industrial parks, would pave the way for narrowing the record trade deficit which ballooned to $31 billion last year, when bilateral trade declined from a high of $73 billion in 2011 to $65 billion. With Chinese manufacturing flooding the Indian market, Seetharaman said “What is important is to find a production activity to be centred in India so that jobs are created for Indians”.

Published on June 29, 2014
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