New Delhi: Ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to India, China on Tuesday hoped that New Delhi will provide a more "fair, friendly and convenient" business environment for Chinese companies to operate in the country, asserting that both the Asian giants should forge greater cooperation to boost trade and investment.
The comments by Chinese Ambassador Sun Weidong, in an interview to PTI, came amid the US asking leading countries to not allow Chinese telecom giant Huawei to roll its 5G mobile networks. India is set to carry out trials for 5G services mobile network and has not taken any decision yet on whether to allow Huawei in the trials.
Sun said there is huge potential for China and India to expand business and trade ties and both the countries should uphold free trade and jointly speak out against trade protectionism and unilateralism in the current situation of rising uncertainties in the "external environment".
China has been engaged in a bitter trade war with the US in the last few months.
"China encourages Chinese companies to invest in India and hopes that India will provide a more fair, friendly and convenient business environment for Chinese companies to operate in India," the ambassador said.
The US has already banned Huawei, the world leader in telecom equipment and the number two smartphone producer, over concerns of security.
The Chinese President is scheduled to arrive in Chennai on Friday afternoon to hold the second informal summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the coastal town of Mamallapuramon in Tamil Nadu. Both sides are expected to formally announce the dates of Xi's visit to India on Wednesday.
Sun said more than 1,000 Chinese companies are operating in India and they have increased their investment in industrial parks, e-commerce and other areas with a total investment of USD 8 billion, Without mentioning the timeframe, he said these companies created 200,000 local jobs in the country.
The Chinese envoy also said that both India and China should work together to promote regional economic integration and speed up negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP).
The RCEP, comprising 10-member ASEAN bloc and six other countries -- India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand, is engaged in negotiations for a free trade pact About India's concerns on ballooning trade deficit, Sun said Beijing has never pursued a policy of trade surplus, and the trade imbalance between the two countries is largely the result of differences in their industrial structures.
"China has taken active measures to increase imports from India, including lowering tariffs on some Indian imports, sending purchasing delegations to India, and assisting in the export of Indian agricultural products and pharmaceuticals to China," he said.
"Over the past five years, China's imports from India have increased by 15 per cent. In the first half of this year, India's trade deficit with China fell by 13.5 per cent year on year, and its agricultural export to China doubled over the same period last year," he added.
He said Chinese mobile phone brands such as Xiaomi, VIVO and OPPO have been well-established in the Indian market and Indian companies are also actively expanding in the Chinese market, with a cumulative investment of nearly USD 1 billion.
"According to Indian statistics, more than two-thirds of Indian companies investing in China are making steady profits. With a combined market of over 2.7 billion people and a GDP of 20 per cent of the world's total, China and India enjoy huge potential and broad prospects for economic and trade cooperation," he said.