(TibetanReview.net, Dec18’20) – Concerned over China’s unreliability as a supplier in the aftermath of the Covid-19 outbreak and frustrated with its perennial reluctance to grant India greater market access, India has decided to elsewhere for its import of as many as 1,068 products, including 168 important ones, to curb excessive reliance on Beijing, reported the financialexpress.com Dec 18.
The lopsided commerce between the two countries had resulted in India’s effective trade deficit with China (after including Hong Kong) dropping only by about $4 billion – from $59 billion in FY18 to close to $55 billion in FY20, the report said, citing official data.
The report said the massive trade balance in favour of China was an important topic of discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping, when they met in Wuhan, Qingdao, and for an informal summit in Chennai in Oct 2019.
Then, over the past two years, the two countries signed various protocols to facilitate exports of Indian rice, fish meal, fish oil, tobacco leaves and Chilli meal, but nothing much came of them, the report said.
India mostly imports manufactured products and components in critical segments like consumer electronics, capital goods, computer hardware, active pharmaceutical ingredients, fertilisers, project goods, electrical machinery, etc. However, its exports to China are characterised by low-value primary goods, raw material and intermediate products mainly iron ore, copper, minerals, cotton, fisheries, spices, etc., the report noted.
China’s recent spree of imports of farm commodities to take advantage of relatively stable global prices did not benefit India, thanks to Beijing’s restricted market access, through either tariff or non-tariff barriers. Between March and October, China’s imports of wheat shot up by almost 232%, year-on-year, while those of pork surged by 135%, corn by 102% and sugar by 23%. However, it barely imported these commodities from India, the report said.