Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, released a study by the Department of Commerce on India-China Trade. The report tries to analyzethe magnitude, extent and plausible reasons of India’s rising trade deficit with China.
The Commerce Minister said that India’s trade relationship with China is unique and no other bilateral trading relationship evokes as much interest in India as the India-China trade relationship. From being a small trading partner of India in 2001, within a span of fifteen years, China has rapidly become India’s biggest trading partner. Trade between the two countries has been expanding but India’s trade deficit with China has been growing.
While releasing the study the Minister said that most industry associations want the Government to pursue a defensive approach to Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) and raise tariffs on the doctrine of domestic markets for domestic producers. Protectionist policies are on the rise globally. The global use of protectionist measures in 2018 was unprecedented with the trade wars looming between two of the largest economies of the world.
Hence, a comparative analysis of the concessions ceded by China on 200 products in its Free Trade Agreements to India’s competing countries like Peru, Pakistan, Australia, South Korea and ASEAN has been carried out by the Department of Commerce. Also the imports of China from these countries as well as China’s Most Favored Nation (MFN) rates have been studied. This analysis helps in studying whether an FTA or tariff concessions by China to India (like China has yielded to India’s competing countries in FTA) can be beneficial in increasing India’s exports to China. The idea behind this exercise has been to identify whether tariff concessions by China to other countries impede raising the share of India’s exports in the Chinese market. These lines can be taken up by India for negotiations with China under agreements like Asia Pacific Free Trade Agreement (APTA) in which both India and China are involved during the review exercise.