Beijing: China has become India’s biggest trade partner surpassing US, which has held that position for a long time. India-China bilateral trade reached $38.6 billion in calendar 2007. During this period, India-US bilateral trade was just $34.6 billion, according to Indian government sources.
The Sino-Indian bilateral trade has increased 53% over $24.9 billion in 2006, adding $13.7 billion in one year. The prime ministers of the two countries have revised their existing target for 2010 from $40 billion to $60 billion.
However, China might face severe pressure in maintaining its No.1 position if the first tranche of payment for the proposed aircraft purchases is sent out to US in 2008. India is awaiting the supply of Boeing aircraft from the US this year and is likely to send out some payment soon.
“It is difficult to says that China will lose its position, India-China trade would grow even faster if the discussions during the recent visit of Prime Minister bears fruit in 2008,” an official said.
The two countries have just signed a protocol on tobacco and are in discussions for enhanced trade in vegetables and fruits produced in India. If flows of these commodities begin and Beijing continues its expected growth in exports to India, US might it difficult to unseat China in 2008, sources said.
“China is a big market for tobacco. They buy from different places in the world. We are able to supply good quality tobacco at very competitive prices. I am sure India will get a piece of the Chinese market of this product,” commerce minister Kamal Nath told TNN in Beijing recently.
The main difference in the two trade segments is the story of Indian surplus and deficit. With US, India managed a surplus of $7 billion out of total trade of $33 billion in the 2006-07. The surplus is believed to be $7.8 billion in the calendar year 2007.
However, The situation is opposite in the case of India-China trade where India suffered a deficit of $9.6 billion in calendar year 2007.