China on Monday promised to address India's growing concerns over the ballooning trade deficit and suggested expanding cooperation in areas like industrial production, tourism and border trade to achieve "overall balance" in bilateral commercial relations.
India has repeatedly voiced concern over the trade imbalance which last year crossed a whopping $7.86 billion over $95.5 billion total bilateral trade. The trade deficit in 2018, according to the official Chinese data, climbed to $57.86 billion from $51.72 billion in 2017.
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, who is in the country for talks with the Chinese leadership to prepare for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping later this year in India, mentioned the trade deficit issue during talks as well as during a bilateral event.
India-China economic relationship too has seen "some progress, Jaishankar said. The bilateral trade has increased but so too has our deficit, which is a matter of some concern.
"We appreciate the steps taken in the last few months by the Chinese side to enhance imports from India. These efforts could expand to include measures to enable greater access for our pharmaceutical and IT products and services in the domestic Chinese market," he said at the 2nd meeting of the India-China High Level Mechanism on Cultural and People-to-People Exchanges.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was also present at the meeting, said China appreciates India's concerns over the trade imbalance.
Wang said, "We stand ready to continue provide facilities to Indian exports to China."
"At the same time, we need to think broadly and need to expand cooperation in industrial production tourism, border trade and other areas so that we can achieve overall balance in our economic trade relations", he said.
This year, the bilateral trade is expected to touch $100 billion, a historic figure endorsed by the leadership of the two countries.