China on Thursday reiterated that it "attaches great importance" to India's concerns over trade imbalance, saying both countries must find new "dynamic" ways to resolve the matter. The assurance came after latest trade figures showed India's trade deficit with China stood at 57 billion U.S. dollars last year, which accounts for nearly 60 percent of the total bilateral trade.
Visitors walk past the India pavilion at the second China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, China, November 6, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
"China always attaches great importance to India's concerns about trade imbalance. We have never deliberately pursued a trade surplus with India. In recent years, China has taken a series of measures, including increasing imports of rice and sugar and accelerating approval process for import of medical and agricultural products from India," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a press conference in Beijing.
India has long complained about its huge trade deficit with China but Geng noted that "over the past five years, China's imports from India have grown by 15 percent, with more and more Indian goods finding their way to Chinese households."
"In 2019, India's trade deficit with China declined significantly," he added.
Referring to the second China International Import Expo in Shanghai last November where India was given the "Guest of Honor Country" status, Geng said: "The deals India secured registered the biggest increase by percentage among all countries."
Figures from 2019 released by China's General Administration of Customs (GAC) on Tuesday put India's trade deficit with China at 391.7 billion yuan (about 57 billion U.S. dollars) while total bilateral trade was valued at 639.5 billion yuan (about 93 billion U.S. dollars).
"China's exports to India stood at 515.6 billion yuan (about 75 billion U.S. dollars), up by 2.1 percent, and India's exports to China totaled 123.9 billion yuan (about 18 billion U.S. dollars), down by 0.2 percent year on year," said Huang Guohua, vice director of the GAC's analysis department, while releasing the figures in Chinese currency.
Seen in yuan terms, total bilateral trade saw a 1.6-percent increase year on year, however in U.S. dollar terms, the trade declined from 95.7 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 to 93 billion U.S. dollars in 2019, falling short from the landmark 100 billion U.S. dollars.
Citing "rapid economic growth" witnessed in both the Asian neighbors in recent years and the "huge development potential" between the two as envisioned by their respective leadership, Geng said, "Both sides should view the trade imbalance in a dynamic light and strive to find new ways to solve the problem."
"At last year's informal meeting in Chennai, President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to establish a high-level economic and trade dialogue mechanism between the two countries. We hope the two sides will work together to make good use of this mechanism, strengthen bilateral trade and investment cooperation, and promote the balanced development of bilateral trade," he concluded.