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With eye on reducing trade deficit, India pitches for rice exports to China

As many as 44 Chinese companies attended a seminar to promote the import of Indian rice to China, which has only recently opened up the non-basmati market to Indian exporters. For Indian rice exporters, the Chinese market value at $1.5 billion to $2 billion is a lucrative one.

india Updated: Oct 29, 2018 16:42 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, Beijing
trade deficit,India,China
The protocol on exports of non-Basmati Rice from India to China was signed in the presence of PM Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Qingdao in June.(Reuters/File Photo)

India on Monday sharpened its pitch to sell non-basmati rice to China as the two countries attempt to broaden the trade bouquet between them amid increasing Indian deficit in bilateral trade.

As many as 44 Chinese companies attended a seminar to promote the import of Indian rice to China, which has only recently opened up the non-basmati market to Indian exporters.

For Indian rice exporters, the Chinese market value at $1.5 billion to $2 billion is a lucrative one.

AK Gupta from India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority said while speaking at the seminar that though India exports more than 12 million MT of rice every year, none comes to China.

“He appealed Chinese importers to try rich varieties of Indian rice which can suit all tastes and requirements including as an ingredient in the processed food,” the Indian embassy said in a statement after the seminar on Monday.

The protocol on exports of non-Basmati Rice from India to China was signed in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit in the coastal city of Qingdao in June.

“Subsequently, Chinese authorities visited India to inspect the rice mills and last week approved 24 Indian rice mills for exports of rice to China out of which six were present for today’s event,” the Indian embassy said.

Following the Modi-Xi agreement, China finally lifted restrictions on the import of non-basmati rice from India in September.

An official release from the Indian commerce ministry said in that month that the first consignment of non-basmati rice (white rice 5% broken) of 100 tonnes will be shipped to China from Nagpur. It added that will be received by China National Cereals, Oils and Foodstuffs Corporation (COFCO).

An increase in rice exports to China will also help India reduce the bilateral trade deficit. China’s trade with India totalled $84.41 billion in 2017, with exports from China standing at around $68 billion, much more than the $16 billion in imports from India.

Both New Delhi and Beijing are working towards reducing that, a Bloomberg report said last week.

“The plan, envisioned to narrow India’s trade deficit with China, pursues duty waivers on an array of products under the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA),” the Bloomberg report added.

APTA was signed in 1975, seeking to allow for a multilateral and liberal trade regime for its members that include China, India, Bangladesh, Laos, South Korea and Sri Lanka.

“India could certainly leverage the trade deal talks into an improved competitive advantage in its Chinese exports, and in the case of China, increasing shipments from India would to a certain extent replace consumer goods from the US amid its trade friction with the US,” Bi Jing, an associate research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, told the tabloid Global Times last week.

First Published: Oct 29, 2018 16:42 IST