China and India trade ties taking time to ripen

Vastavam web: According to Indian government officials and representatives of various Indian trade bodies, progress is very slow – and may even be getting slower after last weekend’s truce between the United States and China in their trade war. Both India and China have sought to rebuild trust after a armed standoff over a stretch of the Himalayan border last year. India is also keen to increase its exports of drugs to China.

In reality, though, getting such exchanges turned into deals is going to be a laborious process. “When we say the Chinese are receptive, it means the talks are happening, but it’s going slow,” said one senior Indian government official with direct knowledge of the discussions. “It can be termed as progress because just a few months ago, we weren’t even talking,” said the official, who did not wish to be named because he is not authorised to talk to media.

Bilateral trade between China and India touched $89.71 billion in the year ending March 2018, with the trade deficit widening to $63.05 billion in China’s favour, more than a nine-fold increase over the past decade. The Indian government is very keen to reduce that gap. A recent study commissioned by India’s trade ministry and reviewed by Reuters, said: “There is no bilateral trade relationship of greater economic and political significance for India than with China.”

The government has received calls from jittery exporters who want to know whether the improvement in the relationship between China and the United States would make India’s position weaker, said the senior Indian government official.