China-India trade volume rises 15% to $22.1 billion in Q1

After hitting historic high of $84.44 billion last year, China's trade with India saw a robust growth in the first quarter this year, with bilateral trade netting $22.1 billion, up 15.4 per cent year-on-year, a top Chinese official said on Thursday.

The growth continued from the upward momentum seen last year, when bilateral trade reached a record high of $84.4 billion, up 20.3 per cent from the previous year, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce Gao Feng said.

"As two large developing countries and major emerging market economies, China and India both have a huge domestic market," Gao said, adding the economies of both countries are highly complementary to each other, creating enormous potential for cooperation.

"By the end of 2017, Chinese investments into India added up to more than $8 billion, as India has become an important market for infrastructure cooperation among Chinese companies and a major investment destination," Gao was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.

His comments came ahead of the two-day informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping in the central chinese city of Wuhan on Friday, during which a host of issues, including an over $50 billion trade deficit between the two countries is expected to figure.

A rare novelty of the bilateral trade last year, otherwise dominated by the Chinese exports was the nearly 40 per cent increase of Indian exports to China, totalling $16.34 billion.

The bilateral trade volume reaching $84.44 billion in 2017 is regarded as a landmark as for the first time it touched $80 billion mark, well above the $71.18 billion registered in 2016.

The trade between the two countries touched the historic high despite bilateral tensions over a number of issues, including the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), China blocking New Delhi's move to designate Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed terror group chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist, Beijing blocking India's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and the Dokalam stand-off.

The bilateral trade stagnated around $70 billion despite the leaders of both the countries setting $100 billion as the target for 2015.

Though it is still about $20 billion short, officials on both sides expect trade and Chinese investments in India to pick up further this year as both the governments are trying to scale down tensions and step-up the normalisation process.

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