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China's Prime Minister, Li Keqiang (L)/FILE

Focus on China

Chinese PM vows to open up markets to India

China's Prime Minister, Li Keqiang (L)/FILE

China’s Prime Minister, Li Keqiang (L)/FILE

NEW DELHI, May 21 – Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Tuesday to open up domestic markets to Indian businesses and narrow a gaping trade deficit between the two countries.

“As for Indian concerns over the trade deficit, the Chinese side is willing to provide facilitations for more Indian products to access the Chinese market,” Li said during a speech to Indian business leaders in New Delhi.

“I am confident we have the ability to mitigate the trade imbalance between our two countries,” he added.

China is India’s largest trading partner, with two-way commerce totalling $66.5 billion last year. But trade is skewed significantly in China’s favour with the deficit totalling $29 billion in 2012, according to Chinese figures.

Li said China understood that balanced trade was crucial to good relations between the world’s two most populous countries.

“China never has the intention to pursue a trade surplus. Only a dynamic trade balance is a sustainable trade relation,” said the premier who is in India on his first foreign visit since taking office.

During his speech, Li reiterated China’s desire to build up trust with India after both sides agreed on Monday to work towards resolving a long-running border dispute in the Himalayas.

“A peaceful and stable South Asia is consistent with China’s development interests and will enable China to focus on addressing problems at home,” he said.

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