Trade Imbalance Current Affairs - 2019
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After a meeting held between Commerce Secretary of both India and China, the two countries signed a protocol for exporting of Indian Chilli Meal from India to China.
Key Highlights of Meeting
- The meeting was held between India’s Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and China’s General Administration of Customs of China (GACC) Vice Minister Li Guo, in New Delhi.
- This was 4th protocol signed between India and China from 2018 (and overall 9th protocol in number) that allows export of farm commodities from India to China.
- Both countries agreed to resolve their market access issues expeditiously in order to promote a more balanced trade.
- Issues Discussed: Key area of discussion of meeting was,
- The persisting trade deficit between India and China because Indian exporters face certain non-tariff barriers in Chinese market which restrict their exports.
- Trade-related issues regarding pending Indian request for clearance of agricultural products.
- Significance: As India is looking for a greater market access for its agricultural and manufactured products in Chinese market, therefore increasing exports of these products to China will help India narrow its widening trade deficit with China, which stood at US $50.12 Billion during April-February 2018-19.
- Way Forward: Recently, India has identified and also shared with China a list of about 380 products, which includes textiles, horticulture, chemicals and pharmaceutical products. The shipments products are chosen keeping in mind their shipments huge export potential. To improve the trade imbalance China must accede to India’s demand of lower barriers for exports of meat, rice, medicines and IT services,
- China is India’s second-biggest trading partner but since 2014 the trade deficit has widened in favor of China by nearly 75% which is about $63 billion worth of goods imported from China (while India exported only $15.07 billion worth of goods to China).
- The Protocols signed between India and China on Agricultural Commodities (With years of Signing):
- Mango (2003)
- Bitter Gourd (2005)
- Grapes (2005)
- Rapeseed meal (2015)
- Basmati Rice (2006)
- Basmati Rice & Non-Basmati Rice (2018)
- Fish meal/ Fish oil (2018)
- Tobacco Leaves (January, 2019)
- Chilli Meal (May, 2019)
Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Rome, endorsing the global infrastructure-building scheme of China. Despite the warnings and pressure from the US and the Europen Union, Italy has joined the china’s mega connectivity scheme and has become the first G7 country to do so. Italy is the thirteenth European Union country and also the first from Western Europe to join China’s Belt Road Initiative.
Why did Italy join the initiative?
Italy has stated that its participation in the initiative through a non-binding agreement was aimed to “rebalance an imbalance” in Sino-Italian trade. There are a lot of ‘Made in China’ coming into Italy and too little ‘Made in Italy’ that goes into China. Italy hopes for a substantial and gradual increase in exports to balance out the trade imbalances.
The decision of Italy is seen as an attempt to address its financial woes which has onerous public debt. Italy fell into recession at the end of last year. The agreement is seen as a trade off wherein Italy needs investment and China has those to provide. The agreement will aid Italy to underpin and strengthen its business ties with China.
The paper released by the EU’s diplomatic arm referred to Belt Road Initiative as a “systemic rival” and has threatened to tighten regulations on Chinese investment in Europe.