India, China in talks to avert toy trade war

19 Mar 2009


India and China today held consultations on resolving the dispute on toy import restrictions by New Delhi, a day after China raised the issue at the WTO complaining of discrimination against Beijing.

"We do not rule out litigation at the WTO. But, we are in bilateral consultation," visiting Chinese vice minister of commerce Zhong Shan said after talks with commerce secretary G K Pillai.

China has not yet formally lodged a complaint against India.

"China raised this issue at the Technical Barriers to Trade Committee (TBTC) meeting yesterday. The Chinese said this measure was discriminatory and that China and India were holding bilateral consultations on the issue," according to WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell.

Speaking at the India-China bilateral meeting, Pillai said that in order to minimise the effects of global slowdown, both India and China need to strengthen the bilateral trade and economic relations and requested the Chinese side to explore the possibility of more diversified exports from India.

''Given the immense potential the two countries have, in both production and the consumption capabilities, we need to work more closely to remove all the minor irritants that creep into our economic and trade relations'', he added.

The bilateral meeting was attended by the Chinese vice minister of commerce  Zhong Shan and senior officials from both the countries.

During the discussions, Pillai informed the visiting Chinese minister that two countries could gain a lot by providing faster market access to pharmaceuticals and drugs. The commerce secretary also requested the Chinese side for granting market access to 14 fruits and vegetable at the earliest, as it was pending since long.

Both sides felt that there is a need for increasing bilateral investments between the two countries and the main sectors for investments could be petrochemicals, steel, healthcare, IT, automobiles, biotechnology, renewable energy and low-carbon technologies.

India's bilateral trade with China during 2007-08 stood at $37.9 billion (exports – $10.8 billion and imports $27.1 billion). The major items of exports from India to China are ores, cotton yarn and fabric, organic and inorganic chemicals, precious stones and metals and machinery while the major items of imports from China to India are electrical machinery, organic chemicals, Iron and steel, fertilisers and mineral fuel.

During the seventh session of the Joint Study Group (JSG) held in New Delhi, it was recommended that the existing Joint Economic Group on Economic Relations and Trade, Science and Technology mechanism be fully activated. The eighth session of India-China JEG is to be held in Beijing.

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