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India looks to cash in Guangdong experience
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India is keen to learn from the experience of Guangdong province in developing its own special economic zones (SEZs), Gautam Bambawale, consul-general of India said in Guangzhou recently.

India began developing SEZs about five years ago, after running export processing zones for the previous two decades, Bambawale told China Daily after the opening of the consulate on June 5.

However, most of them were run by private firms, he said, which meant they were small in size and lacked proper administration.

Bambawale said he was impressed with the achievements of Shenzhen, a major city in Guangdong, which is home to the most successful SEZs in China.

"Of China's five SEZs, three are in Guangdong, including the most successful one, in Shenzhen," he said.

"Therefore, there is a lot we can learn from Guangdong."

The Guangzhou consulate is India's third such diplomatic office in China. The others are in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

The opening of the Guangdong office is a reflection of the flourishing links between India and South China in trade, culture, tourism and education, Bambawale said.

The consulate will serve the provinces of Guangdong, Hunan, Sichuan, Hainan, Yunnan and Fujian, as well as the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, he said.

India and China have strong trade ties. Last year, the value of bilateral trade was $38.6 billion ($5.6 billion), with the figure targeted to reach $60 billion by 2010.

Several Guangdong firms are now investing in India, Bambawale said, adding the most ambitious Guangdong company in India is Huawei Technologies Co Ltd.

Bambawale singled out the infrastructure sector as having the most investment opportunities in India's fast growing economy.

Over the next five to seven years, the country will spend at least $500 billion on infrastructure projects, including highways, airports and seaports, he said.

The value of trade last year between Guangdong and India was $5.9 billion, up 55 percent on 2006.

Bambawale said the consulate's key tasks will be to boost trade and promote India's tourism attractions and education opportunities to the people of Guangdong, many of whom have a keen interest in travel. It will also provide support services to the city's growing Indian population, which totals about 20,000, he said.

(China Daily June 18, 2008)

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