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October 13, 2019

‘China agrees to tackle India’s trade deficit’

Business

October 13, 2019

MAMALLAPURAM, India: Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed at a summit on Saturday to set up a high-level group to tackle India’s galloping trade deficit with the world’s second-biggest economy, Reuters reported.

Xi and Modi held nearly six

hours of talks in an Indian seaside town in their second annual summit designed to break through decades of distrust over border disputes and trade rows.

China, embroiled in a bruising trade war with the United States, was quite appreciative of the imbalance in its own trade with India and willing to address it, Indian Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale told reporters.

“There was a good conversation on trade, an issue of concern; President Xi said China is ready to take sincere action in this regard and discuss in a concrete way how to reduce the deficit,” he said.

Bilateral trade between China and India reached $95.54 billion in 2018, with the trade deficit at $53 billion in China’s favor, the biggest India has with any country.

“One of the understandings the two leaders reached was that a new mechanism will be established to discuss trade, investment and services,” Gokhale said.

The high-level group will be led by Indian Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.

Indian generic drugmakers have long sought greater market access to China, as have India’s IT services. Xi said both were welcome.

China, for its part, has been urging India to take an independent decision on telecom equipment maker Huawei’s bid for India’s proposed 3G network and not be swayed by U.S. pressure.

The United States has asked its allies not to use Huawei equipment, which it says China could exploit for espionage. Beijing denies this accusation.

In his opening remarks, Xi said he had a free and frank discussion with Modi and would pursue proposals the two leaders discussed to improve bilateral ties.

“Yesterday and today we have engaged in candid discussions and as friends,” Xi said.

“I look forward to further discussions, I may follow up on proposals discussed yesterday.” Xi did not elaborate.

Xi headed to Nepal later on Saturday where he is expected to push for further Chinese involvement in developing its infrastructure as part of Beijing’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to boost trade and transport links across Asia.

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