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Wen Jiabao Addresses the China-India Business Cooperation Conference

On April 11, 2005, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council who was paying an official visit to India addressed the China-India Business Cooperation Conference.

Wen introduced the achievements of his visit to India to about 500 delegates from the business communities of China and India. He said that his visit is of great significance and his talks with his Indian counterpart and the joint statement reached by the two governments confirmed that China and Indian would establish the strategic partnership oriented towards peace and prosperity. The governments of the two countries signed the agreement on the political guidelines for the settlement of border issue, which is the first political document of its kind since 1981 when bilateral negotiations on the border issue started. The two countries signed the five-year plan for the overall economic and trade cooperation between China and India and decided to launch the feasibility study on the free trade area between the two countries. They also set up the goal that bilateral trade volume reaches or exceeds US$20 billion by 2008 and amounts to US$30 billion by 2010. Both sides also signed the cooperation agreements in other fields including culture. Those achievements mark a new development stage of China-India relations.

Following introduction of the Chinese economy, Wen raised the following suggestions on expanding China-India economic and trade cooperation:

First, to expand trade cooperation actively. Both sides should continue to expand bilateral trade of resource-based products and traditional products like steel, electronics, organic chemicals and machinery equipment with focus on broadening trade areas. To that end, both sides will eliminate trade barriers and jointly create an environment favorable to the growth of bilateral trade.

Second, to strengthen cooperation in the high-tech area. India has made remarkable achievements in the aerospace technology, information technology and ocean technology. In particular, its software industry holds a leading position in the world. China boasts advantages in new material technology, biotechnology and information technology, especially in the computer hardware and communications sectors. Both sides enjoy promising prospects of cooperation in those areas and other high-tech fields as well.

Third, to encourage investment in each other. India has multinationals with good performance and China also has a large number of strong and competitive businesses. The Chinese government encourages qualified Chinese businesses with sound reputation to invest in industries of India. We also welcome Indian businesses to seek business opportunities in China and grow their business there.

Fourth, to develop project contract cooperation. India is accelerating infrastructure construction covering road, railway, bridge, port and power plants. China businesses have competitive advantages in those areas and have accumulated rich experiences of international cooperation. There lies great potential for bilateral cooperation.

Fifth, to promote multilateral economic and trade cooperation. Both China and India are the important members of Bangkok Agreement and have made close cooperation in many organizations including the WTO. We should push the two countries to further strengthen cooperation and exchanges in those areas and realize a mutually beneficial and win-win outcome.

Finally Wen said that there is an old saying in China that "for a grander sight, climb to a greater height". He expects and believes that the businessmen of the two countries will take a long-term perspective, look into the future and work together to build a new prospect for the bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Kamal Nath in his speech made positive remarks on the rapid development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation in recent years. He noted that India and China are two big economies and the "two engines" of Asia's growth and should seek common development. The bilateral cooperation will benefit the growth of both sides and exert an important influence on world peace and development.

China-India Business Cooperation Conference is held for the first time and serves as a platform for the businessmen of both countries to strengthen exchanges and seek cooperation.

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