Amid rising trade tension globally, India and China will meet on Monday to look at ways to strengthen bilateral ties with New Delhi pitching for easier rules for its exports to bridge the massive trade deficit.
Sources told TOI that authorities led by commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu will pitch for China to address several of the long-pending grievances that include barriers to ship medicines and farm goods even as domestic IT firms haven’t been able to enter the market across the border.
At the same time, there are indications that the government is more open to treat China as a “market economy” for anti-dumping and other actions, an issue which has turned into a trade dispute at the WTO — with Beijing dragging the US and the European Union to the global forum.
India’s trade deficit with China was estimated at over $51 billion in 2016-17 as imports of close to $62 billion entered the domestic market. In contrast, the country’s exports were estimated at just over $10 billion led by chemicals and ores (see graphic).
The commerce department has a long list of demands starting with entry of nearly 250 pharmaceutical products into China. India is suggesting easier entry norms for drugs that are cleared for use in other countries, an issue on which some progress is finally expected in the coming months as China is putting in place a fast-track mechanism for this segment.
Similarly, the government wants an early disposal of its demand for allowing export of bovine meat, where China is blocking access due to fears of foot and mouth disease, a problem afflicting cattle on the other side of the border too.
On non-basmati rice too, India has been pressing for market access in China but the rules are such that authorities will first visit every rice mill in the country before allowing shipments out of here, said officials. “We want China to expedite the whole process as we have been discussing this for at least five-six years now,” said an official.