India seeks market access to lower trade gap with China

New Delhi, May 20 (IANS) India Monday asked China to provide greater market access to help lower the widening trade deficit that rose to $29 billion in 2012.

During a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Li Keqiang, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh voiced India’s concern on the widening trade gap.

“I conveyed to Premier Li our concerns about the trade deficit and sought increased market access to China for our exports and investments,” Singh said while addressing a joint press conference here.

“I also invited increased Chinese involvement in the vast opportunities in our infrastructure and manufacturing sectors,” the prime minister said.

Premier Li is on a three-day visit to India. This is his first overseas visit since he took office in March. He is accompanied by an 80-member high-level delegation.

The issue of widening trade deficit featured during the delegation-level talks here.

“The rapid development of our economies has opened up new opportunities for economic cooperation bilaterally, in our region and globally, which our Strategic Economic Dialogue will identify and explore,” Manmohan Singh said.

“We have also discussed the possibility of infrastructure development to link India’s North Eastern region with Bangladesh, Myanmar, China and other countries in the South East Asian region,” he said.

India-China trade has risen sharply in the last one decade and reached $66 billion in 2012, compared to $3 billion 2000. By the balance of trade has remained highly in favour of China. In 2012, the trade deficit widened to $29 billion.

Trade gap has widened at a time when Indian policy-makers are struggling to control the current account deficit, which rose to the record high in the second quarter of 2012-13.

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