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Economic ties may core of China visit

New Delhi, Fri, 11 Jan 2008 Vikash Ranjan

Commerce minister Kamal Nath gave clear indication on Thursday that India and China would work hard to seal a regional trade agreement so as to foster mutual business relationship further to an elevated height.

The two disliking partners India and china are constantly working on the positive mode to forge harmonious atmosphere between the two neighbouring countries before the Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh visit to china next week.

India is hoping to make common grand on issues like climate change and energy security, simultaneously both are ready to set a new trade target and take business relationship to a new height.

Both India and China may be getting close to seal Regional trade agreement that can be seen as a precursor to Free Trade Agreement for which China may put pressure on India.

On Thursday prime minister said relationship with China is an imperative necessity but ruled out any possibility of ganging up with United States , Japan and Australia against China.

Sources close to PM office said that India and China are likely to announce a new trade target. Both countries had set a trade target of $40 billion to achieve by 2010 during Chinese President Hu Jintao visit to India in 2006. But, fortunately the target has been almost achieved three years ahead of the set target as bilateral trade touching $39 billion already. Enthusiastic with achieving pre-time target, both countries are now expecting to set much higher target.

The two sides are also looking forward to give the visit some weightage, considering low on substance and high on rhetoric, by signing a dozen of MoUs. The MoUs is expected to be achieve in safer areas like expanding cooperation in the area of railways, housing, traditional medicine, geosciences land resource management, land administration, resettlement and rehabilitation and the setting up of an India-China combined medical mission. India 's NABARD and Agriculture Bank of China would sign memorandum on export of tobacco from India to China.

"We have a similar approach, maybe not identical, but there is a fair amount of resemblance," the official said.

Both the premier of India and China would discuss on report of joint task force set up much earlier on a regional trade agreement, RTA about which report is positive, sources said. However India is worried about the trade deficit moving upward, which has risen from $4 billion to almost $9 billion since 2006.

The Chinese government is taking the Indian Prime Minister's visit seriously, particularly Indo-Chinese business ties that vigil from the action taken to send vice premier, Hui Liangyu to the business conference that the PM is scheduled to attend on Monday morning. Earlier a vice minister was expected to attend the conference.

India and China are eager to sign RTA, as it is favourable to both countries. India seriously wants to overcome trade deficit with China whereas China is expecting to call off anti-dumping duties.

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