Photo: AFP
Photo: AFP

India seeks access to Chinese markets to reduce trade deficit

The trade deficit between India and China continues to remain high at $51.75 billion in 2017

Beijing: India on Tuesday voiced its concern to China over the huge trade deficit with the neighbouring country which has climbed to over $51 billion and pitched for greater access to its markets in sectors like IT services, agriculture products, pharmaceuticals and tourism to reduce it.

Bilateral trade between India and China rose by 18.63% year-on-year and reached a historic high of $84.44 billion last year. But the trade deficit continues to remain high at $51.75 billion in 2017.

Commerce secretary Anup Wadhawan, who is visiting Shanghai to attend the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Beijing, met Wang Shouwen, the vice minister of commerce, and discussed bilateral trade issues. He also expressed satisfaction over the progress made in talks regarding the export of soya bean meal and pomegranate from India, according to an Indian Embassy release here.

“The commerce secretary while expressing concern regarding the large trade deficit, acknowledged Chinese government’s efforts in clearing some of the market access issues such as for rice, rapeseed meal etc. during the past few months and expressed satisfaction over progress on soya bean meal and pomegranate and related issues," the statement said.

India has been airing its concerns to China over the huge trade deficit for several years. New Delhi has been putting pressure on Beijing to take measures to bring down the over $51.75 billion trade deficit, which was one of the main focus areas of the informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at Wuhan in April.

India has also been asking China to provide market access to its food and agro products, pharmaceuticals, IT and IT-enabled services, tourism and services in which it has proven strengths and significant global presence but minuscule presence in China. The Indian pavilion at the CIIE has showcased import opportunities of these products.

In his meeting with Wang, Wadhawan also informed him about the encouraging response to the business promotion events organised by the Indian Embassy and Consulates covering products like sugar, rice, tea, oil meals etc. He requested Wang to provide the guidelines of the Chinese ministry of commerce to its importers to source these products from India.