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Indian PM Attends China-India Economic Forum
The annual growth rate of 30 percent in bilateral trade between China and India in recent years is quite significant, and at this rate, the bilateral trade volume target of US$10 billion is likely to be attained soon, said Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Beijing Tuesday.

Vajpayee made the remark at the China-India Economic Cooperation and Development Seminar.

Some of the results achieved through economic cooperation are already quite encouraging, he said.

"China is today the world's fastest growing economy, and your achievements in the economic transformation of your country are truly remarkable." he said.

In the last 12 years, India has recorded an average annual growth of nearly 6 percent, and trade with the rest of the world has also recorded a steady annual growth of over 8 percent in the past decade, he said.

Indian companies are now acquiring brand recognition abroad in cutting-edge fields such as information technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals, he added.

"I must note that the Indian business delegation accompanying me on this visit is among the largest that has traveled with me on my official visits abroad. This says something about the potential that Indian trade and industry circles see for economic cooperation with China." he said.

"It is very important to strengthen passenger and cargo transportation links, banking support structure and trade facilitation measures." he said.

Having visited China in 1979, 1993 and 2003, Vajpayee has witnessed three distinct phases of economic change in China. With respect to China's goal of quadrupling its GDP by 2020, he said "I have no reason to doubt that you will also achieve this extraordinary target."

"Of course we have much further to go to realize the full potential of our partnership. We have, first and foremost, to bridge the information gap between the business communities of our two countries. There has to be far greater exposure in each country of the opportunities available in the other. This would help to diversify our trade baskets," he stressed.

Chinese Minister of Commerce Lu Fuyuan addressed the meeting, saying China and India share more common consensus and interests than differences.

China stands ready to strengthen economic cooperation and exchanges with India, its largest trade partner in south Asia, Lu said.

President Wan Jifei of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) said that he appreciates the emphasis that Indian Prime Minister has given to the development of bilateral trade.

About 400 entrepreneurs from China and India attended the seminar, which featured the establishment of a China-India joint business network and the signing of a cooperative agreement between the respective chambers of commerce.

(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2003)

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