China declines India’s proposal for renminbi-rupee trade

China has not accepted India’s proposal to carry out bilateral trade in local currencies which was aimed at bridging the ballooning trade deficit with the neighbouring country. India had suggested China for renminbi-rupee trade to boost its exports and tackle the widening trade deficit concern. China has declined India’s proposal.

India’s exports to China stood at only USD 13.4 billion, imports aggregated to USD 76.4 billion in 2017-18, leaving a trade deficit of USD 63 billion. It was USD 51.11 billion in 2016-17.

The issue was discussed in an inter-ministerial meeting in October this year. In the meeting, it was suggested to the Reserve Bank of India and the Department of Economic Affairs would look at the possibility of exploring renminbi-rupee trade with China.

India has also proposed trade in national currencies with some other countries, including Russia, Iran and Venezuela. New Delhi has trade deficit with these three countries, too.

Trade experts have stated that bilateral trade in domestic currencies will help India only in the case of those countries with which it has a trade balance. Trade imbalance should not be there with the country with which we want to do trade in rupee. It will not help in bridging the deficit. The partner country should have an opportunity to invest in India to use the rupee, experts aver.

The Indian industry and exporters have time and again raised the issue of increasing trade deficit with China and have asked the government to seek greater market access for domestic goods in the Chinese market.

Recently, China has permitted exports of rice and sugar. But India wants to increase exports of several other items, including pharmaceuticals, engineering and services.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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