New Delhi: India has substantially reduced import tariffs on 3142 goods imported from China and four other Asian Countries. Only last week, China had reduced import tariffs on 8549 goods imported from Asian countries including India. These included agricultural produce, medical items and chemicals imported from India.
China had expressed an expectation that India should stand behind China in the trade war against the United States, and had taken some steps in that direction. China has claimed that the reduction in import tariffs on Indian goods is as per the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA). But in reality, China, which is under pressure because of the trade war with the United States, is forced to improve trade relations with other countries, and in such times, the cooperation from India becomes extremely important. This seems to be the reason behind these Chinese gestures.
India too has responded well to China. The Indian government announced its decision to reduce import tariffs on 3142 goods imported from China, Bangladesh, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Laos. The Commerce Ministry has said that this reduction is in line with the APTA treaty, signed amongst the countries with the United Nations initiative. Therefore, it can be clearly seen that India, China and the Asian countries are making efforts to increase the cooperation amongst themselves on the trade front.
The United States has imposed taxes on the goods imported from India and has demanded that India should stop the purchase of oil from Iran. The United States has also demanded that India should not be purchasing air defence system from its traditional ally like Russia. But India has continued its cooperation with Russia and Iran without paying any heed to the United States’ warning. Therefore, the Indo-US relations could come under strain in the near future.
Keeping this matter in view, India has started strengthening its trade ties with other countries and is therefore, responding to the Chinese proposal regarding the matter. The decision to reduce import tariffs on 3142 items imported from Asian countries including China, seems to be a part of the same initiative.
Meanwhile, the United States decided to postpone the ‘Two Plus Two’ discussion with India. Some analysts had expressed concerns that trade discord between the two countries is responsible for this. But the US diplomats have denied the concern and have expressed confidence that the discussions will be held soon.