New Delhi: China’s Tebian Electric Apparatus Stock Co. Ltd (TBEA), a maker of high-voltage transformers, has signed a preliminary accord with the Gujarat government to set up a manufacturing facility in the state with an initial investment of $100 million.
The announcement by officials of the two countries that TBEA (India) Pvt. Ltd will invest an additional $300 million in the next two to three years in the Green Energy Park project in Gujarat came on a day commerce minister Anand Sharma raised concerns over the widening trade deficit.
Sharma raised the issue of India’s trade deficit widening from $9.1 billion in 2006-07 to $20.8 billion in 2010-11 in his conversation with visiting Xinjiang province governor Nur Bekri in New Delhi. Bilateral trade touched an estimated $60 billion in 2010-11.
“Balanced trade is needed for long-term, sustainable and harmonious development of economic cooperation between the two countries,” a government statement cited Sharma as telling Bekri, who is on a three-day visit to India.
TBEA’s move follows state-run power transmission firm Power Grid Corp. of India Ltd’s decision to make it mandatory for overseas equipment suppliers to have factories in India to participate in its tenders. The directive ruled out imports from China. TBEA has been a major supplier of transformers and reactors to the Indian transmission sector.
An Indian government official said the TBEA transformer factory will provide employment for 2,000 people in its initial phase. Transformers produced by it will be sold in India, Africa and the Middle East. TBEA is based in Xinjiang.
Bekri, an ethnic Uygur from the Xinjiang province that has seen tensions boil over between the region’s ethnic Muslim Turkic group and the majority Han Chinese, also met tourism minister Subodh Kant Sahay, apart from vice president Hamid Ansari on Thursday.
During his visit to Mumbai, where the Hindi film industry is based, Bekri will invite Bollywood producers to use Xinjiang as a shooting locale, said the official cited above.
Bekri’s visit to India is part of an exercise to increase interaction between the provincial leaders of the two countries and narrow the trust deficit that is the legacy of a brief but bitter 1962 border conflict. The Asian giants are yet to sort out differences over demarcating their common border -- a problem dating back to 1962.
Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi is expected to visit Beijing and Shanghai from 8 November. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan have visited China recently.