India, China to form task force on rising trade gap problem
India and China on Friday agreed to set up a <g data-gr-id="36">high level</g> task force to look into ways to address New Delhi’s concerns over widening trade deficit which has touched $48 billion in China’s favour. India is seeking greater market access in China for its products in sectors such as pharmaceuticals, IT and agriculture, which are facing regulatory hurdles there.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is here on an official visit, raised concerns over the expanding trade imbalance in favour of China after which the two sides decided to set up a <g data-gr-id="39">high level</g> task force to address it and other issues including market access. “President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang were very receptive to the specific concerns I had raised on our growing trade deficit. We look forward to early impact on the ground,” Modi said.
“We have agreed to create a high-level task force to develop a strategic <g data-gr-id="34">road-map</g> to expand economic relations. It will cover a broad range of areas including Infrastructure, IT, Pharma, Agriculture and Manufacturing,” he added. <g data-gr-id="43">Trade</g> deficit has increased by about 34 <g data-gr-id="35">per cent</g> to $48.43 billion in 2014-15 from $36.21 billion in the previous fiscal. 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 <g data-gr-id="41">resolve</g> this problem”.
It was agreed that both sides will take necessary measures to remove impediments to bilateral trade and investment, facilitate greater market access to each other?s economies. 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. . Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar told media that the task force was being formed because there is not enough movement on India’s calls for more access to pharma and IT markets which Indian officials have identified as the country’s strong areas. The two sides also decided to have a special mechanism to discuss issues related to WTO talks as both have the same approach on these. According to provisional figures, India’s exports to China stood at $11.95 billion in 2014-15, while imports amounted to $60.39 billion.
Pitching India as the next frontier of “economic revolution”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said his government is doing away with “unnecessary regulations”, building a predictable tax regime and creating a liberal environment for foreign investments. He also assured investors that land acquisition laws will neither be allowed to hinder growth nor become a burden on farmers. Addressing a gathering at the Tsinghua University here, Modi said: “We are eliminating unnecessary regulations and simplifying our procedures. We are using digital technology to eliminate multiple approvals and endless wait.”