China should overtake the U.S. as India's biggest trading partner in two years, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath said March 16, adding that the Asian giants will shape the "economic architecture of the future." India's biggest trading partner is the U.S. with which trade is running at $21 billion while China is the second largest, he told a business forum in New Delhi. With bilateral trade growing by an average 44% a year over the past five years, "if we keep up this momentum, China could well be our largest trading partner in a year or two," said Commerce Minister Kamal Nath.
Trade between the onetime rivals has surged from $2 billion in 2000-01 to up to $18 billion this financial year ending in March. Nath said the countries were poised to achieve $20 billion in trade by 2007, a year ahead of a target set during the Chinese premier's visit.Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai forecast bilateral trade could grow to $50 billion by 2010.
Nath said there was a need to broaden the trade basket from India's side to move beyond raw materials and natural resource-based products. Chinese-manufactured toys and electronic goods abound in India's retail market while New Delhi has been shipping raw materials for Beijing's booming construction sector. "If our trade is to expand exponentially, it's imperative for both partners to diversify the trade basket. Between us, we produce practically everything and produce it cheaply," Nath said.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006