PM talks trade imbalance with Wen, invites investments in infra sector

Meeting on the sidelines of the ASEAN Summit here on Monday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited Chinese investments in the infrastructure sector while conveying India's concerns over trade imbalance to his counterpart Wen Jiabao.

The issue will be on the agenda as India and China hold the second Strategic Economic Dialogue in Delhi later this month. Briefing reporters here about the meeting, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said greater Chinese investment in India's infrastructure sector and market access for India's IT, services and pharmaceutical industries in China will be on the agenda of the dialogue, as well as a discussion on avoiding simultaneous crude oil purchases from world markets by the two energy-hungry economies, as that may cause price escalation.

At the 40-minute meeting, Singh and Wen discussed a range of subjects, from the economy to the boundary issue, defence, maritime security, and international matters.

Both the leaders agreed that there was enough space for India and China to develop while expanding cooperation. Wen said this was the guiding principle of his country's approach towards India.

"As regards Indian exports, the PM emphasised the need for greater market access for Indian exports, particularly, information technology, services and pharmaceuticals. The PM also welcomed Chinese investments in India's infrastructure sector, which he said will help in job creation and in bridging the trade deficit between the two nations," said Mathai. In the first two quarters, India's trade deficit with China touched $23 billion.

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