Hindustan Times - 24 September 2019
China calls for free trade pact with India to fast track business ties
By Rezaul H Laskar
China believes India and Pakistan should resolve their disputes peacefully and will support any move conducive to improving relations between the two countries.
“If India and Pakistan settle disputes through dialogue and focus on social and economic development, it would not only create a stable environment for each other’s national development, but also helps maintain regional peace and tranquillity,” Sun said in an interview.
“As a common neighbour and friend of India and Pakistan, China sincerely wishes to see the two countries live in harmony and resolve disputes peacefully,” he added.
The envoy called for the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed free trade agreement between the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and six more countries including India, “as soon as possible” and the promotion of trade growth by India and China by signing free trade pacts.
China, he said, had never pursued a trade surplus and the trade imbalance with India was “largely the result of differences in their industrial structures”. China has taken active measures to increase imports from India, including lowering tariffs on some goods, sending purchase delegations to India and assisting in the export of Indian agricultural goods and pharmaceuticals.
Sun said: “China is ready to import products with high quality and competitive price which meet the needs of the Chinese market. China welcomes more exports of marketable and competitive Indian products to the Chinese market.”
Outlining measures to boost bilateral trade from the current annual level of about $95 billion, he said, “We should broaden our vision and take more holistic measures such as increasing mutual investments, encouraging Indian companies to participate in China International Import Expo, upgrading Nathula border trade port, concluding RCEP as soon as possible to make the pie of cooperation even bigger and gradually reduce trade imbalance in the process of cooperation and development of the two countries.”