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India, China agree to draw roadmap to address trade deficit

The growing trade deficit with China is a cause of concern for India. India had a $51.1 billion trade deficit with the neighbour in 2016-17, which grew to $52.9 billion in the April-January period of 2017-18.

business Updated: Mar 27, 2018 22:43 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
India,China,Trade
Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu (PTI File Photo)

As part of the government’s renewed engagement with China, the two countries hosted the 11th meeting of the India-China Joint Group on Economic Relations, Trade, Science and Technology here on Monday. The last such meeting was held in Beijing in September 2014.

The meeting was co-chaired by commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu and his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan and the two discussed ways to address trade imbalance and create an action plan to take trade ties forward, a government statement as well as officials familiar with the meeting said.

“Trade is a very important aspect of bilateral ties between the two. That this meeting happened the second time after the NDA government came to power goes well with the series of bilateral engagements India and China are undertaking in recent times,” said an Indian official.

Welcoming Zhong, Prabhu stressed that this joint group is one of the oldest and “most important dialogue mechanism between the two sides”. A statement from the government said India’s trade imbalance with China is the most important issue to be taken up by the group. “The minister exhorted his Chinese counterpart for greater market access for agricultural products like rapeseed, soyabean, basmati and non-basmati rice, fruits, vegetables, and sugar. Another commodity which could be exported from India to China is the high quality pharmaceutical products,” it said.

Prabhu listed the export of India’s IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) to China and said the focus should be on cooperation in tourism and healthcare.

The growing trade deficit with China is a cause of concern for India. India had a $51.1 billion trade deficit with the neighbour in 2016-17, which grew to $52.9 billion in the April-January period of 2017-18.

The government release said Zhong welcomed the investment and promised to address the trade deficit.

“The minister highlighted the important issues discussed in the meeting like two-way trade relations, preparation of an action plan, greater focus on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), and e-dialogue,” the statement said.

First Published: Mar 27, 2018 20:31 IST