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Consul General Ma Zhanwu Briefs Media on Chinese Participation in BGBS 2018

Mr. Ma Zhanwu, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in Kolkata, gave a press briefing on 9 January 2018 to announce the participation by Chinese business delegations in Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS) 2018. Over 70 journalists representing 40 media houses were present.

Mr. Ma informed the journalists that this year about 30 Chinese companies will be participating in the BGBS. Out of these, 10 will be visiting India for the first time to explore business opportunities and the rest are already doing business in India.

Out of the 10 Chinese companies coming for the first time 4 are from Jiangsu, 4 from Shandong and 1 from Yunnan Province. And Mr. Chen Zhenning, Vice Governor of Jiangsu Province will be part of the delegation.

These companies will be looking at engineering, electronics, automobile, textile, garments, and other areas for opportunities of investment in Bengal and Eastern India. The Consul General also said that the Consulate will partner with the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to host a special B2B session between the Chinese business delegation and the Indian businesses in West Bengal, which will be held on 16 January 2018, from 6.30 PM onwards at the Westin Hotel, Kolkata.

The Chinese diplomat noted that the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which was held in Beijing in October 2017 and established Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era as the guideline for CPC, emphasized that China will expand its reforms and opening-up and continue to promote trade and investment cooperation with other countries. And Chinese companies will invest over 150 billion U.S. dollars abroad every year.

Mr. Ma stated that as Eastern India lies within the areas covered by the Belt and Road Initiative and the BCIM (Bangladesh-China-India-Myamar Economic Corridor), the decisions made at the above Congress will have bearings on Bengal and other states in the region in the coming years and decades.

Stating that “Bengal Means Business” is important for Chinese companies, Mr. Ma noted that the officials and business representatives from China will be looking forward to hearing from the Chief Minister on new policy initiatives in the coming summit. He was hopeful that Chinese companies would be able to contribute here in Bengal.

Mr. Ma stated that the Chinese Consulate in Kolkata attaches great importance in fostering economic and trade ties between China and Eastern India, and his office has been working closely with the state government here and with the provincial governments of China.

Mr. Ma said that the Chinese business houses are also attaching great importance to the opportunities to be presented in eastern India especially in Bengal

Optimistic that more Chinese companies will be coming to partner with local companies in West Bengal in the coming months and years, Mr. Ma talked about the hopes of Chinese companies that want to start or expand their business in Eastern India, including more sound and stable bilateral relationship.Mr. Ma shared that the two central governments can address such concerns by working towards signing a treaty of friendship and cooperation and an FTA between India and China. The two countries can also combine their respective development strategies, the Belt and Road Initiative proposed by China and “Look East Policy’ by India. He explained that China has proposed BRI to create more opportunity for cooperation, including economic cooperation between countries in the areas covered by the ancient Silk Road and the maritime routes comparable to the ancient overland Silk Road. Many countries Mr. Ma told the audience that more than 100 countries and regional and international organizations have already agreed to or have taken part in this initiative. And he believed that the development strategies can be combined to make more opportunities for business people.

Mr. Ma appreciated the efforts by the state government to welcome foreign investors, and urged villagers to follow suit.

Answering a question on BCIM, Mr. Ma said that it could mean huge potentials for economic development of the four nations, and he mentioned that in April 2017 representatives from all the four nations came to Kolkata to further discuss this corridor. The experts are still working on how to do it in specific ways. All the countries are working towards it. China believes all nations will benefit, especially Kolkata, which stands at the key area of the economic corridor. And he hoped to see early implementation of the relevant projects.

Talking about how much investment has been made by Chinese companies in Bengal, Mr. Ma said that the amount has been growing at a fast rate although he does not have the figure, as the companies would not want to disclose it. But in some cases it has crossed the million US dollar bench mark. He also said that when he first came to Kolkata there were 20 Chinese companies in the city, and now their are 50, and the Chinese companies are ready to invest more in Bengal in the coming years and decade.

Talking about the area of investment of major companies coming from China at the BGBS Mr. Ma stated that they belong to the automobile sector, textile, electronics, construction, engineering, rubber products and some investment companies.

Talking about what the Chinese government is doing to bridge the India-China trade gap and if Indian manufacturing industries would be welcomed in China, Mr. Ma stated that several Indian industries like TATA and Reliance are already doing business in China. Explaining how many Indian commodities like Basmati rice, handicraft products, jute and Indian spices are a hit in China Mr. Ma said that the Indian government should take initiative to ensure people in China get to know more about these products. From 5 to 10 November 2018, the first International Imports Fair will be held in Shanghai, China, in which Indian companies are welcome to take part.

Mr. Ma said that fairs like these shows that China wants to import too. It is not logical to produce more products just to export them in exchange of foreign money. China wants to consume too and hence need to import more commodities from all over the world.

Consul Li Suyun, Vice Consuls Shi Lijun and Gao Xiang also attended the briefing.

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