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Home >> Business
UPDATED: 08:07, October 12, 2006
Chinese steel firms keen on investing in India
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Chinese steel companies are casting their eyes on investing in the Indian market though barriers remained.

Sinosteel, a major steel company in China, is drawing an ambitious plan to invest in mining, steel plants and related infrastructure like ports and railways in India.

"In the next three to five years we are looking to expanding investment in India," said Huang Tianwen, president of Sinosteel, at the Sino-India Economic Cooperation Seminar here on Wednesday.

So far the company's major business in India is buying iron ore and selling it to the Chinese market.

India sold 68.55 million tons of iron ore worth of 5.2 billion U.S. dollars to China in 2005, accounting for 27.8 percent of the total bilateral trade volume, or 83.13 percent of India's total iron ore export.

The biggest business between steel industries of the two countries is the trade, but investment will be the future focus, Huang said.

"Besides us, as far as I know, many Chinese steel firms have showed interest in setting up joint venture and even wholly-owned steel plants in India," he said.

The steel production reached 349 million tons in China last year when the market began to see a surplus of steel supply.

While the Chinese government adopted tight policies to slow down the industry growth, steel firms turned to overseas markets for further development.

India produces about 43 million tons of steel annually and with the economic growth the demand will increase rapidly leading to great potential for the steel industry, Huang said.

To the strong interest from Chinese companies, their Indian counterparts have given positive response.

"We shall not only make deals but also set up partnerships, for example, joint ventures of China and India," said Rita Singh, managing director of India's Mesco Steel.

Chinese companies should invest in a larger way as India has resources and China has better technologies and machines, she said.

And India is easier to import coal, which is also critical resource for steel industry, from China due to the geographical reason, she added.

But, despite of all the ambitions and advantages, Chinese companies are facing some barriers in investing in India.

"I think we are expecting the investment environment in India to be further improved and the Indian government to adopt more policies favoring foreign direct investment," Huang said.

According to some insiders, foreign investors still face some restrictive policies in India and some of the regulations are not clear and stable enough.

Several steel giants in the world, including POSCO from South Korea and Mittal Steel, have signed agreements to set up steel plants in India.

Source: Xinhua

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