Will not tolerate trade deficit with China: India’s Minister of State for Commerce & Industry

asserts Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

“The trade deficit with China that India has had to suffer, is certainly not good news and the Indian Government has set about efforts at various levels towards correcting the situation. Negotiations with China about providing better market access to Indian drugs and IT segments are in progress”, asserted Nirmala Sitharaman, the Minister of State for Commerce and Industry. 

India’s trade deficit in the bilateral trade with China is evidently bloating and from April 2015 to January 2016 India has suffered a trade deficit of about $44.7 billion. Mrs Sitharaman’s statement indicates concern over the mounting trade deficit and also that India has taken a serious view of it. As part of the measures to make good the deficit, India has taken steps at different levels that include demanding better access for its pharmaceutical products and IT industry to the Chinese market. Talks with China are already on, in this regard. 

nirmala sitharamMoreover, certain Chinese products entering the Indian market do affect the indigenous Indian industry adversely and India intends taking steps to stop these from entering the market for which it has turned to the World Trade Organization. The Minister for Commerce affirms that by checking the entry of certain Chinese products in the home market on the one hand and trying for better access to the Chinese market on the other, India hopes to close in, to a fair extent, the trade deficit with China. 

The Indian President Pranab Mukherjee too had tabled the issue of the trade deficit during his visit to China and had suggested that China open up larger access in its market to the Indian pharmaceutical and IT industry. This in any case was not the first time that such a suggestion has been made. But it has become evident and so very often that despite the fact that China makes billions of dollars taking advantage of the Indian market, it is just not willing to open up its market to Indian companies. 

China is unwilling to agree to India’s demand lest the Indian pharmaceutical and IT companies excel in their performances and prove their worth, given an opportunity to access its market. 

Also the last few weeks have seen intense political conflicts between India and China. China had used its power of veto to stand in the way of the UN’s action against ‘Maulana Masood Azhar’, the master mind behind the Mumbai terror attack. China has also not been in favour of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG). 

Why then must China, this country that has time and again taken a stand against India, receive any trade concessions at all from India? ask infuriated Indians. The policies of the Indian government have now begun to mirror the indignation against China in the mind of the Indian public at large and the statements of the Minister for Commerce make it amply clear that it is getting difficult for India to put up with the trade deficit. 

A few days ago, the Indian social media abounded with posts voicing anger against China. Lapping up all trade benefits from India, neither does China have qualms about co-operating with Pakistan, India’s bitter enemy nor does it lose a single opportunity to make moves damaging India’s interest, a fact that again invited the wrath of netizens. The social media voices that though China talks of co-operation, its actions do not match its words and that the Indian government ought to beware of China. 

It may also be noted that a few days ago, the Indian Minister for Commerce had imposed a ban on substandard Chinese products.