NEW DELHI: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit at Brasilia to discuss India’s demands that China open up its markets more to Indian exports.
“Held talks with President Xi Jinping. Several subjects pertaining to deepening bilateral cooperation were discussed. Today’s discussions will add new vigour to India-China relations,” Modi tweeted after the meeting, the first after their meeting in Bangkok, where India refused to join the RCEP, the world’s largest trading block comprising ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“Trade and investment were among the key issues both the leaders talked about,” the PMO said in a separate tweet.
“China welcomes India’s active increase in exports of high-quality goods to China. The two sides should expand the scale of two-way trade and investment and create new growth points in production capacity, medicine, information technology and infrastructure construction,” Xi stated.
Officials said that India remained concerned by its huge $54 billion trade deficit with China, a third of its total trade deficit, and has been pressing for greater access to the Chinese markets of generic pharmaceuticals, IT services and automobile parts, and an easing of China’s non-tariff barriers. “We have had some success in pushing pharmaceuticals and marine exports, but we need to get the Chinese to remove tariff barriers they impose, including not recognising global certification of medicines,” said a commerce ministry official. India mostly exports commodities such as tea, coffee, spices, stones and minerals, whereas China predominantly exports finished goods such as electronics, electrical equipment, organic chemicals, plastics and fertilisers.
“It’s a very colonial relationship. We need to rework our trade with China so that our manufacturers can sell there on equal terms,” said Prof Biswajit Dhar of the JNU.