Nirmala Sitharaman held “candid” talks with china on growing trade deficit

New Delhi: Minister of State (Independent Charge) Commerce and Industry, Nirmala Sitharaman at a press conference in New Delhi on Wednesday. PTI Photo by Manvender Vashist(PTI9_10_2014_000029B) *** Local Caption ***

Vastavam web: Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has held “candid” talks with her Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan over the ballooning trade deficit in favour of China which has crossed over USD 52 billion and sought a level playing field for Indian IT and agro products.India’s trade deficit with China in 2015-16 swelled to USD 52.68 billion, which Indian officials say has become unsustainable. Besides pressing for access to IT and pharma products, the main stay of India’s global exports, India has been insisting that China should compensate by stepping up investments.”The two Ministers exchanged views, in a candid manner, on further development of a strong, balanced and sustainable trade and investment partnership between India and China,” Indian Consulate in Shanghai said in a statement today.

The meeting between the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry and Zhong was the second after their meeting on the sidelines of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial meeting in Hanoi, Vietnam in May 2017.The ministers also agreed to further intensify India- China cooperation in the multilateral frameworks such as WTO, BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the statement said.A host of BRICS ministerial and officials meeting on various fields were being held in China ahead of the five- nation grouping’s summit to be held in September this year in the Chinese city of Xiamen.

The meetings were taking place as per schedule despite the India-China tensions over the standoff at Doklam in the Sikkim section.Ahead of Sitharaman’s visit, China’s Commerce Ministry said India should avoid abusing trade remedy measures and called for settling trade disputes through consultation.Wang said adopting restrictive measures for the trade of photovoltaic products would not only harm photovoltaic sector development in India, but also dampen the sector’s long-term development worldwide as well as economic and trade cooperation between China and India.Meanwhile, coinciding with Sitharamans’s visit, an article in today’s state-run ‘Global Times’ said protectionism against Chinese manufactured products will only boomerang on the Indian industry.

The list of Chinese products covered by India’s trade remedy investigations is getting ever longer, expanding from garments, glass, minerals and other low-end items to advanced products such as new materials and machinery, it said.India has initiated 12 investigations against Chinese products in the first half of this year, becoming the country with the most trade remedy probes against China, it said.During the period, 11 investigations were launched by the US, it said, quoting China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).”Chinese producers still have the upper hand, but it seems understandable for the Indian government to be eager to protect local industries,” the write-up claimed.But it is wrong to resort to trade remedy measures to drive Chinese products out of the local market, it added.