Trade ministers and senior officials of India and China would deliberate upon ways to boost two-way commerce and reduce trade deficit in the Joint Economic Group (JEG) meeting here tomorrow. The meeting assumes significance as India has time and again raised the issue of heavy trade imbalance with China and sought steps to facilitate Indian exports in areas including pharmaceutical and agricultural products and information technology services. Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu and his Chinese counterpart Zhong Shan will discuss “how to balance the trade gap in the India-China Joint Economic Group meeting,” a government official said. Investment related issues are also likely to come up for discussion besides market access matters and other non-trade barriers. Trade deficit with China stood at USD 36.73 billion during April-October this fiscal. Increasing trade deficit with China can be attributed primarily to the fact that Chinese exports to India rely strongly on manufactured items to meet the demand of fast expanding sectors like telecom and power.
Prabhu has recently said that India is keen to deliberate upon ways to reduce the trade deficit with China. “We will discuss that issue bilaterally,” he has said. The JEG was formed in December 1988 during the visit of the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi to Beijing.
In 2011-12, the bilateral trade between the countries stood at USD 75.45 billion. While India’s exports stood at USD 17.90 billion, imports were USD 57.55 billion. India’s trade deficit with China has marginally dipped to USD 51 billion in 2016-17 from USD 52.69 billion in the previous fiscal.