China is encouraging its companies to buy more from India to address the neighboring country's ballooning trade deficit, its top diplomat Dai Bingguo has said, asking Indian firms to "seize" the opportunity offered by the Chinese import market which is expected to touch a whopping USD 10 trillion by 2015.
"China pays close attention to the trade imbalance. We have already encouraged Chinese companies to import more from India and will continue to do so," Dai, China's Chief negotiator with India for over a decade, said in an interview here.
India's trade deficit with China has grown to USD 23 billion in the first ten months of this year. Last year the deficit stood at USD 27.07 billion even though bilateral trade touched all time high of USD 73.9 billion.
Dai, China's pointman for India for the border issue, played down the focus on the trade deficit.
"China's economy is an open economy. We do not seek a trade surplus. While China enjoys a surplus with the US, Europe and India, it has a deficit with Japan and the Republic of Korea," said Dai, who is set to retire in March as the administration of the outgoing President Hu Jintao steps down to pave the way for new leadership headed by Xi Jinping.
"It is true that China's export has grown fast, but our import has grown at an even faster pace," he said. "China is implementing its 12th five-year plan (2011-15). During this period, China's total import is expected to reach USD 10 trillion. I sincerely hope that Indian companies will seize this opportunity and export more products that meet the demand of the Chinese market."
China's overseas trade reached USD 3.64 trillion last year. While exports accounted for USD 1.9 trillion, imports rose to USD 1. 74 trillion, constituting nine per cent of the global imports.
The USD 10 trillion import projection is being made in the backdrop of China altering its export dependent economy to that of the one based on domestic consumption in order to reduce dependence on falling exports.
In order to do that, China says its focus for the next five years is going to be on boosting living standards with increased income, which results in big increase in imports.
As a result of declining exports, China fixed 7.5 per cent target for GDP this year with projections to grow over eight per cent next year, mostly based on increased consumption.
Dai said in