India and China on Wednesday signed an agreement allowing Beijing to inspect imports of Indian fish meal and fish oil, as the two nations work out a broader trade deal following a thaw in relations this year.
Commerce Secretary and Vice Minister of China shaking hands after signing of protocol
China is getting ready to buy a host of agriculture products from India, including fish oil and fish meal, pomegranates, chikoo, soyameal, bovine meat, tobacco and okra, in a bid to check the growing trade gap between the two countries.
Both the Indian and Chinese sides appreciated each other’s concerns and agreed to resolve the market access issues expeditiously to achieve the vision of the leaders of both the countries by promoting a more balanced trade.
Chinese Vice-Minister Hu Wei, who met senior officials from the Indian Commerce & Industry Ministry and Agriculture Ministry on Tuesday, readied the protocol for fish oil and fish meal that would open doors for India’s exports.
“Wei also assured that steps will be taken soon to start imports of other agriculture products from India including pomegranates and chikoo,” a government official told BusinessLine.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping this year, made a case for concrete steps to lower India’s trade deficit with China, which touched $63 billion last year, and the Chinese Premier assured him of the country’s support. Since then, China has started imports of non-basmati rice from India and has also signed contracts for import of sugar.
Modi and Xi Jinping are also scheduled to meet in Buenos Aires on Wednesday. Both leaders are in Argentina to attend the G-20 conference.
Chinese officials said that imports of fish oil and fish meal will start soon as the Chinese authorities had already inspected and given clearance to the facilities and the protocol was ready.
China imports fish oil to the tune of USD 143.29 million, and fish meal to the tune of USD 263.43 million, and signing of the protocol between the two countries paves the way for export of Indian fish oil and fish meal to China.
New Delhi also urged Beijing to revive the MoU signed by the two countries in 2006 to promote agriculture exports.
On India’s concern on pharmaceutical exports, Hu Wei said he would convey the same to the Chinese authorities responsible for drugs and pharmaceuticals.