India Invites Chinese Companies to Invest in New Manufacturing Zones

China had also pledged to help increase imports from India to help reduce New Delhi's huge trade deficit.

India's trade minister said Monday that Chinese companies would be invited to invest in new manufacturing zones being set up by the government after talks with his counterpart from China.

Anand Sharma said that China had also pledged to help increase imports from India to help reduce New Delhi's huge trade deficit, which has been a major economic irritant between the two Asian giants.

"We have invited China to participate and support in the establishment of one or more of the National Investment and Manufacturing Zones that we have decided to establish under the National Manufacturing Policy," Sharma said.

"We are very happy. The response has been positive and encouraging," he added after discussions with China's Chen Deming in the Indian capital.

India's trade deficit with China leapt 42% to nearly $40 billion in the last fiscal year ended March 31 while total bilateral trade climbed 27% to $75 billion.

Relations between China and India are prickly because of a long-standing border dispute and the presence of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in India.

Leaders from both countries insist that the world is big enough to accommodate the rise of both countries and that they are increasingly inter-linked trading partners, not rivals.

The commitments by the two ministers came as part of an agreement "to work on a five-year plan between India and China on economic cooperation," Sharma said.

The two sides agreed to address concerns over the "adverse imbalance of trade between China and India," and "to seriously look at encouraging investment," Sharma said.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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