In a bid to address Indian concerns on market access in China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang agreed to form a high-level task force that will cover the entire gamut of issues.
Modi said, “President Xi and Premier Li were very receptive to the specific concerns I had raised on our growing trade deficit. We look forward to early impact on the ground.”
“We have agreed to create a high-level task force to develop a strategic road-map to expand economic relations. It will cover a broad range of areas including infrastructure, IT, pharma, agriculture and manufacturing,” he added.
Modi said that “to maintain this partnership over the long run, we must also improve the access of Indian industry to the Chinese market. I am encouraged by President Xi’s and Premier Li’s commitment to resolve this problem”.
While there were no details available about the composition of the task force, secretary-rank officials are expected to be part of the panel.
Foreign secretary S Jaishankar said that the task force was being formed because there is “not enough movement” on India’s demands for more access to pharma and IT markets identified by the Indian officials.
The trade deficit between India and China is estimated to be about $40 billion, and Indian government has been seeking better market access in China for its products in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, IT and agriculture. The two sides resolved to take joint measures to alleviate the skewed bilateral trade so as to realise its sustainability, said a joint statement.
“Such measures will include cooperation on pharmaceutical supervision including registration, speedier phytosanitary negotiations on agro-products for two-way trade, stronger links between Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises, and increasing services trade in tourism, films, healthcare, IT and logistics,” it said.
The two sides also decided to have a special mechanism to discuss issues related to World Trade Organization talks as both have the same approach on these.
Modi also said, “Bilateral cooperation was a very important part of our discussion. We have set a high level of ambition for our economic partnership. We see enormous bilateral opportunities and many similar challenges, like urbanisation.”
“This includes cooperation in the Railways, where we have identified specific projects, and the two Chinese industrial parks in Gujarat and Maharashtra,” he said
He said that both Chinese leaders were “very supportive” about increased Chinese participation in the Make in India mission and infrastructure sector.
“In Shanghai tomorrow (Saturday), we will see over twenty ventures in the private sector take concrete shape,” he said.