Analysts have discounted possibility of any progress being made on Regional Trade Agreement (RTA) between India and China during external affairs minister S M Krishna's visit to Beijing until Beijing addresses New Delhi's concern of rising trade deficit, which hit $16 billion last year. Krishna's visit to China starts today.
Indian officials, responding to reports of Chinese officials offering to expedite talks to finalise a bilateral agreement, told PTI, the RTA was under discussion for some time but progress on it during Krishna's visit was not likely as India was concerned about the trade gap.
According to highly placed unidentified Indian diplomatic sources quoted by PTI, trade deficit between the two countries was up at $16 billion last year and there was a need to find a way out. Until then it was not politically feasible for India to go for RTA, they said.
They added that the ball was in China's court and a drastic reduction in trade deficit could make it easier for India to go for RTA.
The trade deficit started growing in 2006 with China starting the export of heavy machinery, telecom equipment and home appliances to India.
China which is pressing for the trade pact agreed to address India's concerns during commerce minister Anand Sharma's visit to China a few months ago.