India, China ink deals to reduce trade gap


New Delhi : India Monday signed four agreements with China that will boost Indian shipments of buffalo meat, fisheries and pharmaceuticals, and help reduce the trade deficit that rose to $40.77 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2013.

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Three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) relate to facilitating trading of buffalo meat, fisheries and pharmaceuticals. The fourth is related to easing the trade of feed and feed ingredients.

These agreements were signed by the authorities concerned of the two countries in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang here.

After signing the agreements, Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said the deals would help curb the widening trade deficit between the two countries.

“The signing of the MoUs between India and China is a good beginning to address the issues India is raising with China from time to time. All the sectors are of immense trade importance to India, and India has clear price and quality competitiveness in these sectors to compete in the world market,” Sharma said in a statement.

Trade deficit between India and China surged to $40.77 billion in 2012-13 as compared to $1.08 billion recorded in 2001-02, according to India’s commerce ministry.

Bilateral trade increased to $67.83 billion in 2012-13 as compared to $2.09 billion in 2001-02. The two-way trade had surged to $75.59 billion in 2011-12, when China became India’s largest trading partner.

A MoU for the export of buffalo meat from India to China was signed between Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and India’s Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).

The export of buffalo meat is not allowed from India to China and this has been a long pending issue between two countries.

“With the resumption of trade, India hopes a big merchandise trade that will not only be helpful in reducing trade imbalance of India but also in China’s food security by providing quality and hygiene meat products,” the commerce ministry statement said.

The Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) and AQSIQ signed an MoU on cooperation for import and export trade of fishery products.

The MoU aims to institutionalise cooperation in promoting trade of fishery products and healthy development of trade between India and China. India is expecting more exports from India to China through this cooperation.

An MoU was also signed between Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) and the China Chamber of Commerce for import and export of medicines and health products.

India has been finding it difficult to expand its trade with China in the pharmaceutical sector. The signing of the MoU is expected to facilitate access to the China market in pharmaceuticals.