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Straight talk on China trade

world Updated: Nov 01, 2009 00:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Indian embassy

The Indian embassy has discussed Indian ‘constraints’ in competing in the Chinese markets in straight talk in a rare open letter to a government-run magazine this week.

“Trade imbalance between China and India is indisputable,’’ said the embassy, in response to a report on “stumbling blocks” in China-India trade in the Beijing Review in September.

China is India’s largest trade partner and bilateral trade exceeded targets to hit nearly $ 52 billion in 2008. But this year, the financial crisis led to a 32 per cent drop in bilateral trade, to about $ 19 billion in the year’s first half.

In Beijing, India has been stepping up efforts to balance its trade basket of exports to China to include high-end goods.

Ambassador S. Jaishankar had raised the issue in a talk to businessmen in September, when he said: “Nowhere else is our export so dominated by commodities and raw materials... it cannot be that Indian industry is competitive everywhere in the world except in China.’’

The embassy’s latest statement says both nations have a “vested interest” in each other’s success. But the note largely details major unresolved issues and Indian industry’s “longstanding concerns” that Chinese policies make companies give preference to domestic production over imports.

“Local content stipulations have also constrained India’s ability to compete in the Chinese market,’’ the note said.