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India’s boycott of our goods will fail to change trade ties: Chinese media

india Updated: Oct 20, 2016 14:50 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (Reuters)

An ongoing call to boycott Chinese goods in India over diplomatic disputes will fizzle and fail to change the current nature of bilateral trade ties that is heavily tilted in Beijing’s favour, state media has argued.

In the end, consumers will opt for reasonably priced goods from the East Asian country, it has forecast.

One reason why the boycott call will not work in changing trade ties in India’s favour is that the Chinese consumer goods to be shunned forms only small part of what China exports to India, Liu Xiaoxue from the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the prestigious Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) wrote for the nationalistic tabloid, the Global Times.

In fact, a chunk of imports from China comprises essential hi-tech goods that India need for development and people need for essential use, Liu said.

“Moreover, the merchandise, which is mentioned by Indian media all the time, is only a small part of Chinese exports to India,” the CASS researcher said. “Being a major exporter of hi-tech goods, today’s China mainly exports hi-tech products to India, including electrical equipment, telecommunications equipment, train locomotives, computers and telephones. These are all necessary for India’s economic development and its people’s everyday lives.”

Liu added that for consumers, attractive goods with a reasonable price are naturally their first choice.

“That said, a boycott of Chinese goods will not only result in little of the political effect that people who initiated the movement would like to see, but will also fail to fundamentally change India’s current trade ties with China. In the end, it will be nothing more than a tiny incident,” she wrote.

According to Liu, after PM Narendra Modi started promoting the slogan ‘Make in India’, some of the country’s media and citizens have tended to hype up the substantial quantities of made-in-China balloons, coloured lanterns and ribbons that always appear in the nation’s Hindu spring festival by asking, “Should our valuable foreign currency be wasted on these products?” or “Are Indian manufacturing industries too backward to produce those goods?”

“Economically, India has unbalanced trade ties with China. The increasing trade deficit with China has been irritating New Delhi. India’s trade deficit with China jumped to $51.45 billion in 2015,” Liu wrote.

She added that India as a country with a long-term account deficit which faces balance of payments problems is always vigilant against trade deficits.

“Chinese products can hence be easily turned into the target of India’s anti-dumping sanctions.”

“Unresolved problems between the two nations sometimes influence their political mutual trust and have led to the non-tariff barriers in India against Chinese capital and products, such as security checks in major projects in the fields of defense, telecommunications, Internet and transportation,” Liu wrote.