India's trade deficit with China balloons to $12 billion
Beijing: The India-China trade deficit increased by 34 percent to reach USD 12 billion in the first five months of the year, presenting a bleak picture for Indian exports as bilateral trade continued to decline, denting hopes of achieving a trade volume of USD 100 billion by 2015.
According to the data released by Chinese Customs, the India-China bilateral trade touched USD 26.5 billion till May 2013.
The trade deficit for India has widened year-on-year to USD 12 billion, up by 34 percent. The trade volume was lowered by over USD two billion compared to last year.
Bilateral trade fell to about USD 66.7 billion last year from around USD 74 billion in 2012. The trade deficit touched about USD 30 billion last year, causing concerns in India.
While the Chinese exports registered marginal increase the bilateral trade numbers are falling.
Exports have declined substantially while imports have risen marginally, officials here told PTI.
Much to the disquiet of India, its main items of exports like cotton, iron ore and copper have continued their downward slide.
Iron ore declined sharply by 76 percent to USD 595.42 million. Cotton and copper declined year-on-year by 40 percent to USD 1.39 billion and 24 percent to USD 688.53 million respectively.
India's overall share in Chinese exports has dropped to under 1 percent from 1.33 percent, the data showed.
Cotton yarn and diamonds are the other two exports that rounded off the top five. Cotton yarn is the sole bright spot showing a jump of 115 percent to reach a value of USD 740 million.
Diamonds have increased at a modest 14 percent to record USD 562.1 million.
The Chinese exports to India maintained an even keel, rising by 2.7 percent year-on-year.
The declining trade as well the promise held out by the Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in the last month's visit to New Delhi to provide more market access to Indian goods were the focus of discussions between the two countries in the past few weeks.
Indian Commerce Secretary S R Rao who met the Chinese officials here recently discussed steps to arrest the trend.
The issue also figured in the just concluded Special Representative talks between National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Jiechi.
Bilateral trade which touched over USD 74 billion in 2011 fell to USD 66.7 billion last year owing to a host of reasons including the declining rupee against dollar.
During last month's visit to India, Li had promised to address New Delhi's concerns in this regard and seriously consider ways to meet India's demand to open up IT and Pharmaceutical sectors which offered great potential for Indian products.
The MOUs signed during his visit are expected to facilitate India's exports of pharmaceuticals, marine products and buffalo meat.
The two countries again set the target of USD 100 billion trade by 2015, which many say will be difficult to achieve unless China opens to Indian products in a bigway.