India's trade deficit with China has climbed to $52.69 billion in FY16 from $48.48 billion in FY15. Trade deficit with China during the April-September period of 2016-17 stood at $25.22 billion.
India's import of bulk drugs from China stood at $1.63 billion in 2015-16, which constitutes 64 per cent of India's total bulk drug imports. Overall, India had imported such drugs worth $2.5 billion last fiscal, commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman pointed out.
She attributed India's trade deficit to rising demand from fast expanding sectors like telecom and power. Chinese exports to India are strongly dependent on manufactured items to meet that demand, she said.
The minister also noted that India is currently negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement keeping in view its export interests as well as sensitivities pertaining to all other participating countries, including China.
She said efforts are being made to increase overall exports by diversifying the trade basket with emphasis on manufactured goods, services, resolution of market access issues and other non-tariff barriers.
She further said that since both India and China are members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) no blanket ban can be imposed on any member country under the WTO framework.
Efforts are being made for revival of active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) industry to lessen dependency on import of key starting materials, intermediates and bulk drugs including from China, she said.