India seeks more market access to products from China to narrow trade deficit


New Delhi: India has sought greater market access from China for its products like sugar, rice and pharmaceuticals to narrow the high trade deficit, which is important for the finanlisation of proposed mega free trade agreement RCEP, an official said.

The issue was raised by Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan in his meeting with Wang Shouwen, the Vice Minister of China’s Commerce Ministry, on the sidelines of RCEP inter-sessional ministerial meeting in Beijing on Friday.

Wadhawan emphasised the proposed trade agreement RCEP should duly consider the existing level of trade imbalance between India and China.

In his meeting with Hu Chunhua, Vice Premier of China, the secretary advocated for an agreement which duly addresses the current level of trade imbalance.

RCEP bloc comprises 10 ASEAN group members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam), and their trade partners India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Wadhawan also used the opportunity to push market access related issues of various other items such as milk and milk products, pomegranate, soyabean meal, and okra.

Besides, he flagged issues pertaining to Indian services sector including IT and ITeS and easing business visas by China to Indian business travellers, the official said.

India registered a trade deficit in 2018-19 with as many as 11 RCEP member countries – including China, South Korea and Australia – out of the grouping of 16 nations that are negotiating a mega trade pact since November 2012.

In 2018-19, India’s trade deficit with China stood at $50.2 billion. (PTI)