China will work to boost cooperative platforms with India to infuse fresh vigor into business ties and usher in a new phase of cooperation, the Ministry of Commerce said on Thursday.
The ministry made the remark as President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi prepared to hold an informal meeting in Wuhan, Hubei province, on Friday and Saturday. The two leaders are expected to discuss global issues and exchange views on the overall, long-term and strategic issues of China-India relations.
"China and India both are developing countries and major emerging economies with huge home markets," said Gao Feng, spokesman for the Ministry of Commerce. "The two countries are highly complementary in terms of economic development models."
Bilateral trade has been on the rise in recent years. The total trade volume between the two countries was $84.4 billion in 2017, up 20.3 percent year-on-year, setting a record, the Ministry of Commerce said.
Bilateral trade hit $22.13 billion in the first quarter of this year, up 15.4 percent from same period a year ago.
Chinese companies had invested over $8 billion in India by 2017, as the South Asian country became an important infrastructure and investment market for them.
India primarily exports garments, plastics, chemicals, agricultural products, cotton, silver, copper and iron ore to China. China mainly ships electronics, machine tools, automobiles and other transportation products, home appliances, smartphones and construction machinery and materials to India.
Xue Rongjiu, deputy director of the Beijing-based China Society for WTO Studies, said their trade doesn't involve any significant direct competition.
Though anti-globalization seems to be on the rise and many countries including China and India are suffering setbacks, the future of China-India business ties will be decided by stable political relations, fast-growing service businesses and complementary goods trade, especially in high-tech manufacturing and healthcare sectors, he said.
"Both sides have more space to expand trade and investment and deepen cooperation in such fields as modern agriculture, energy, environmental protection and urbanization in the longrun," he said.
"China has already offered more market access to Indian companies, from IT and services to pharmaceuticals to Bollywood films," said Sang Baichuan, director of the Institute of International Business at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.
"In addition to jointly ensuring the multilateral trade system, it is also meaningful for the two countries to expand their economic activities, due to the divergence of the structure of products between China and India and their leading economic positions in Asia," Sang said.