India has again raised the issue of greater market access for its goods and services in China with a view to increase exports and reduce the widening trade deficit against it, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Monday.
“I have spoken to him (China’s ambassador designate to India) in detail about various areas on which I want Chinese to respond to us … He has assured me that he would look into it and come back to us,” she told reporters here referring to a recent meeting.
Sitharaman said she has flagged various issues with the Chinese side about areas like IT and pharmaceuticals.
“If exports to China should happen, it should happen directly from India to China. There are several Indian IT companies who have established business in China but whose operations are lagging behind schedule because permissions are not given easily and inspections are happening over and over again,” she said after launching a dashboard on foreign trade data.
“So there are many such issues which I have listed out. We are talking to them to get the greater market access. Our companies do not get market access. So we are definitely working with Chinese to see how best we can increase our goods market access in China,” she added.
In 2015-16, India’s exports to China were $9 billion, imports were $61.7 billion, leaving a trade deficit of $52.7 billion.
Earlier this month, India’s Niti Aayog had said there is a need to find sustainable ways to correct the large imbalance in bilateral trade flows.
“We have a high level of trade deficit with China. We must push investments abnd change “Made in China” to “Invested by China, Made in India,” Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant tweeted.
Sitharaman also said the fall in exports has been arrested and its growth is expected to be slow but steady in the coming months.
“At the moment, the fall is arrested… the growth is happening. We will only be looking at the steady growth. It may be slow but steady,” she said.
India’s exports in August at $21.15 billion fell marginally by 0.3 per cent, compared to $21.58 billion exported in August 2015, indicating that the trend of continuous decline in Indian exports that had occurred till June this year has been halted.
Further, India’s trade deficit in August this year at $7.67 billion witnessed a 38 per cent fall compared to the same month last year at $12.40 billion, commerce ministry data showed last month.