India wants China to walk the talk on export pacts

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on May 22, 2013

Commerce Secretary to visit Beijing to follow up on decisions

Commerce Secretary S.R. Rao will lead a group of senior officials for a three-day visit to China from May 27 to work on the specifics of the recent memoranda of understanding signed for export of bovine meat, oilmeal, fishery and pharmaceuticals.

He will also hold consultations with his Chinese counterparts on exporting more IT products, a Commerce Department official said.

“There is little we can do to stop imports from China, as there is a genuine demand from the Indian industry. Trade deficit can only be bridged by stepping up exports. It can be done provided China removes restrictions in products where India has competitive advantage,” the official said. The MoUs to increase exports were signed during Premier Li Keqiang’s recent visit to India.

Trade deficit between India and China widened to $40.8 billion in 2012-13 from $39.4 billion in 2011-12, despite a 10 per cent contraction in total trade during the year.

India, which mostly exports raw materials to China such as iron ore, copper and raw cotton, has been pressing for easing exports of pharmaceuticals, IT, buffalo meat, rapeseed meal and fishery since former Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao’s visit in 2010, but not much progress has been made.

India was, therefore, pleasantly surprised when China agreed to sign MoUs to facilitate exports of key commodities during Li’s visit.

“Since the MoUs were signed in the presence of the Premier, we expect them to hold some weight. We are hoping that the Commerce Secretary will be able to convince the Chinese officials to come up with specifics in terms of certification and other processes required for exports,” the official said.

IT prospects

Although no MoU was signed on IT, India is hopeful that the Chinese Government will give instructions to state enterprises to start doing business with Indian companies.

With China working on a health programme for its entire population, it is expected that demand for cheap generics will go up, which India can provide.

China is also one of the largest importers of bovine meat and fishery products and India can be a big supplier if the country scraps ‘irrelevant’ quality restrictions.

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Published on May 22, 2013
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