Hon’ble Minister of State, Mr. N.N.Meena,
Executive Vice-Mayor Mr. Cui Jindu,
SBI Managing Director, Mr. H.G.Contractor
Ladies & Gentlemen,
1. It is a great pleasure to join you today at this ceremony for the Tianjin branch opening by the State Bank of India. The occasion marks an important step forward not just for the SBI but our larger banking presence in China. I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the role that banks can play in taking the India-China relationship to greater heights.
2. In the year 2000, trade between India and China was less than USD 3 billion. Last year, it was USD 66 billion, actually a slight decline over the USD 74 billion in 2011. We expect trade to recover and reach the USD 100 billion target by 2015 agreed upon by the two Governments. Apart from trade, India is also the largest market for project exports from China. Currently, projects under execution are estimated at over USD 55 billion. There is a significant complementarity between the Indian and Chinese economies. The infrastructure deficit in India, in particular, is expected to drive Chinese exports while also attracting its investments. We are at a stage when a number of Chinese companies are showing strong interest in establishing a more sustainable presence in India. On our part, the quest for improved market access in China continues. I have no doubt that our export basket will also diversify in times to come.
3. In this background, expanded banking relations between India and China is very important. We have 10 Indian banks in this country, with different levels of operations. The Reserve Bank of India and China Banking Regulatory Commission [CBRC] has already reached agreement to expedite processing of licenses. We see more interest on the part of Chinese banks in going to India. It is only when our banks are more connected that we can be said to have achieved the full spectrum relationship that is natural to neighbors.
4. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Tianjin authorities for their support and encouragement. This city is one of the key ports for both exports and imports with India. It is emerging as an attractive location for Indian companies in China, both in trade and services. We have always enjoyed very positive cooperation from authorities. I am very glad that SBI has chosen Tianjin as a location for its second branch and am confident that this entity will make a serious contribution to our growing economic ties.