Trade deficit with China at $8 bn in April-May: Sitharaman

New Delhi, Aug 7 (IANS) India’s trade deficit with China touched $8 billion during April-May of this fiscal, while the figure for 2014-15 has grown to $48.47 billion from $36.2 billion in 2013-14, parliament was told on Friday.

“Increasing trade deficit with China can primarily be attributed to the fact that Chinese exports to India rely strongly on manufactured items meeting the demand of fast expanding sectors like telecom and power while India’s exports to China are characterised by primary products, raw material and intermediates,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told the Lok Sabha in a written reply.

She said the government has taken various measures to identify specific products having export potential in order to boost exports and maintain balance of trade with India’s trade partners, including China.

In view of continuous decline in exports over a half-year period, the government last month set up the Council for Trade Development and Promotion to be chaired by the union commerce minister and comprising state trade and commerce ministers and officials including 14 union secretaries including those of commerce, revenue, shipping, civil aviation, agriculture, food processing and economic affairs as members.

India’s merchandise exports declined further for the seventh straight month in June to $22.29 billion, 15.82 percent lower than the $26.48 billion worth shipped in the same month of last year.

Exports remained almost static compared to May’s figure of $22.34 billion, continuing the declining trend for the sixth straight month, caused by the global economic slowdown, fall in crude oil prices and rupee’s appreciation.

Replying to a separate question, Sitharaman said India has entered into 11 free trade agreements and five preferential trade agreements with other countries.

“India is negotiating FTAs and PTAs with some countries, including Israel and the EU (European Union),” she said.

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