China and India should work together to double their bilateral trade volume to US$10 billion by 2005, Chinese Minister of Commerce Lu Fuyuan said in Beijing Wednesday during a meeting with Indian Minister of Commerce and Industry Arun Jaitley.
As the two most populous and largest developing countries, Lu said, China and India have great potential to expand their trade and economic cooperation.
China and India signed a number of agreements of cooperation this week as Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was visiting China.
"Those documents will greatly push forward bilateral trade and economic cooperation between our countries," Lu said. "We should, in accordance with the consensus reached between Indian prime minister and Chinese premier, make plans on the development of trade and economic cooperation."
Lu said any proposal from India would have the active support of China so long as it was conducive to the expansion of trade and economic cooperation.
Two-way trade between China and India reached US$4.95 billion last year, up 37.6 percent from a year ago. From January to May this year, bilateral trade grew 70 percent to US$2.9 billion, with China importing US$1.68 billion of Indian goods and exporting US$1.22 billion of goods to India.
Jaitley proposed the joint economic group between India and China should hold meetings as soon as possible to explore ways of boosting trade and cooperation.
The Indian minister said India and China, as two important developing members of the World Trade Organization, shared many similarities and could cooperate well on many issues.
He suggested the two sides exchange views frequently and make joint efforts to safeguard the interests of developing countries.
Lu agreed with Jaitley, and said the two countries shared many common interests in the new round of talks of the WTO. He said the two should support each other and work for the interests of the developing countries.
(Xinhua News Agency June 26, 2003)