The liaison office of the first official business body set up by China to step up its investments in India was inaugurated here today amid concerted efforts by both countries to boost their trade ties.
The liaison office of China and India Business Council, (CIBC) was launched here in the capital of Hunan province, the birthplace of Mao Zedong, founder of ruling CommunistParty of China (CPC) at a ceremony attended among others by top officials of both the countries.
Though set up in 1985 by China, the CIBC remained inactive. Setting up of a liaison office in Hunan province in coordination with IndianConsulate in Guangzhou will make it active, officials said.
The revival of the CIBC is backed by China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT),country's official body which coordinates Chinese investments and businesses abroad. It was seen as significant step by China to boost its investments in India.
The ceremony was attended by Deputy Ambassador of India Amit Narang, the Consul General of the India in Guangzhou YK Sailas Thangal as well as Vice Chairman of the National CCPIT, Lu Pengqi and Chairman of the CCPIT, Hunan province, He Jian.
A Chinese official said the office eventually would coordinate investments from all over China and will also open its offices in India.
Hunan has strong trade ties with India with some of its top companies like Zoomlion, a Chinese manufacturer of construction machinery and sanitation equipment andSany heavy machinery manufacturing company which have already made investments in India.
Chinese officials said, China's investments in India amounted to USD 4.07 billon till last year though Indian officials say it is less than USD 2 billion.
But more Chinese firms evinced interest to invest in India. For its part Indian government in coordination with the various state governments is also conducting campaigns to attract Chinese investments.
The bilateral trade last year amounted to USD 71.62 billion with over USD 53 billion trade deficit in favour of China. In view of the growing trade deficit, India has been asking China to promote investments.
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Outlining "enormous" investment opportunities for Chinese companies in India, which has emerged as the fastest growing economic of the world, Thangal said India has attracted FDI more than US and China.
India's massive expansion of road, rail and other infrastructure projects have offered a lot of scope for investments for China which is currently investing its huge foreign exchange reserves abroad.
"From modernisation of agriculture, food processing, which were poised for a USD 100 billion expansion by 2020 to high speed railway cooperation, India has become the most attractive destination for Chinese investments," he said.
In his address, Narang said India is the third largest economy after US and China in purchasing power.
India is also a very young country with low labour costs providing a "major pivot for cooperation between India and China," he said.
Also the Indian government has initiated lot a measures to improve the efficiency of the government and streamlined legal system making it easier to conduct businesses in India.
He also said China's expansion of investments abroad and India opening of its manufacturing for foreign investment provided a land mark opportunity for cooperation.
Wu Meng, Deputy Director General CCPIT International Exchange Department said, his organisation has set up over 177 mechanisms to promote business opportunities for Chinese firms abroad.
"China and India are big countries with lot of depth of dynamism. CIBC has been set up in 1985 and has been dedicated to provide more opportunities for enterprises from both the countries and provide all round development of business relations," he said.
"Hunan and India business cooperation is very close. CCPIT Hunan has done lot of effective work to promote business with India. CCPIT will provide maximum support to this liaison office," he added.
The meeting was followed by seminar on India-China Business and Investment cooperation in which several Indian and Chinese industrialists and officials of the Confederation of Indian Industry, (CII) took part.