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Consul General Ma Zhanwu Speaks at Calcutta Chamber of Commerce

Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the People's Republic of China in Kolkata, addressed the interactive session on the topic of "Furthering Trade Ties between India and China", which was organized by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce (CCC) in Kolkata, India on 27 May 2017.

Mr Dinesh Jain, President of CCC; Mr Rajendra Khandelwal, Senior Vice President of CCC; Mr Om Prakash Agarwal, CCC Vice President; Mr Mahesh Saharia, Honorary Consul of Indonesia in Kolkata and past President of the chamber; Mikhail Gusev, Russian Deputy Consul General; and over 50 members of the chamber and journalists from the mainstream media were present.

Mr Jain thanked Mr Ma for his presence and acknowledged that the Asian economy in the recent past outperformed the other regions of the world, making Sino-Indian relationship one of the most important. He pointed out that the trade ties between the two nations were expanding rapidly and that the potential demand was huge for each other's goods and services in both China and India.

Mr Ma appreciated the remarks made by Mr Jain and spoke highly of the great progress made by both nations in economic and social undertakings. He said that China has maintained a strong momentum of growth through encouraging consumption, innovation, e-commerce and supporting internet-based industries and services. He gave the examples of shared bicycles, You Sing (2-person karaoke in a booth), increased utilization of industrial robots, big data industries and so on in China to indicate the positive changes in the Chinese economy and its improved structure and quality.

On China-India ties, Mr Ma said that the bilateral relations have seen much progress over the recent years and the exchanges and cooperation have been expanding rapidly, although they have yet to meet our great expectations. He stressed that the shared interests between China and India far outweigh their differences and the two sides should work hard to tap the huge potentials. As long as both sides press ahead with development of the relationship, and deal with the differences properly and bring them under control, they will surely make greater progress. And China-India relationship will become one of the best and most important.

The Consul General also gave a briefing on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying the Panchsheel, or the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, as put forward by China and India back in the 1950s, has also been reflected in the fundamental principles of BRI. And BRI means the initiative for development of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. This would cover the regions along the ancient Silk Road and the Sea Routes that went from China and India and other places in eastern Aisia to the Middle East, Europe and many countries in Africa. It has been proposed so as to achieve the synergy by combining the development strategies and plans of different countries. The priority is development of infrastructure, but it also covers policy consultation and coordination between governments, financing, trade and investment, and people-to-people exchanges.

He said the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation was held successfully in Beijing from 14 to 15 May 2017, and the next round will be held in China in 2019. The initiative is open to all, and China welcomes India's participation.

He suggested that the bilateral economic ties will grow more steadily if the political ties can continue to improve and the two sides can further enhance mutual understanding. He also noted that the investors would be attracted more efficiently if they can make money, and urged the relevant government agencies and the society to bear this in their mind. He encouraged businesses from the two countries to work hard and find good partners, and hoped that CCC would play its unique and important role in this regard.

Mr Ma later addressed questions from the members of the chamber and the journalists present,. On the question of counter-terrorism, Mr Ma said that peace and security are essential for economic development and China is working closely with India on counter-terrorism. A member was concerned at the restrictions on the entry of pharmaceuticals products and IT services into China, and Mr Ma clarified that the Chinese market is open and his country would continue to expand its imports in the coming years. In the next 5 years, China will import a total of 8 trillion US dollars of commodities and services and will invest 750 billion US dollars abroad. And from 2018 on, China will hold its International Imports Fair every year. He urged the Indian businessmen to strive to get a bigger share in this regard.

The audience was impressed with Mr Ma's remarks and expressed their appreciation of his presentation.

Mr Chen Ankai, Consular Attache and Ms Yashi Surana from the Consulate were also present at the event.

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