India's January-April trade deficit with China touches $9 billion

09 June 2014

India has piled up a deficit of nearly $9 billion in its trade with China in the first four months of the year, raising the spectre of a perennial trade gap that India may not be able to bridge in the near future.

The two countries have targeted $100 billion in two-way trade, although bilateral trade had plateaued around $65 billion over the past two years since India has increasingly been finding it difficult to match China on the manufacturing and export fronts.

Trade volume between China and India jumped from $35 billion in 2006 to about $65.47 billion in 2013, while India's trade deficit with China grew faster, reaching $31.42 billion at the end of last year.

Latest figures from China's customs show the total volume of the trade from January to April this year amounted to $21.98 billion. India's exports totalled $6.57 billion while the imports amounted to $15.41 billion - a deficit of $8.84 billion.

The huge trade deficit figured in Sunday's talks between external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi in New Delhi.

Wang who arrived in India on a two-day visit to establish first contacts with the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, promised to help India's economic development and emphasised that the two countries see eye-to-eye of most issues, but opted to play down difference over a trade deficit and a festering border dispute.

The two leaders also discussed ways to increase Chinese investments in India through setting up industrial parks and infrastructure projects.

India runs a $40 billion trade deficit with China while the latter managed to outgrow India fourfold since 1980 helped by an export-led model.

India is seeking access for Indian IT and pharmaceutical companies in Chinese market as a way to address the country's huge trade deficit.

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