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India-China border trade through Lipulekh Pass gathers pace

Jul 23, 2019

 India-China border trade through Lipulekh Pass is gearing up gradually. Almost one and a half months into the trade, export of goods worth Rs 96,000 from India and import of goods worth Rs 1.45 lakh to India were recorded by mid-July. Traders told TOI that the pace of trade is expected to see an upswing in August. At present, 34 Indian traders (and helpers) are at Taklakot, the Chinese mandi (market), to conduct business. 
 
This year, the district administration had issued trade passes to 65 traders and 157 helpers. Currently, 13 traders and 21 helpers are staying at Taklalot to conduct business. While some traders are heading towards Talakot, others are returning to Gunji, the Indian mandi, from Taklakot, Varun Agarwal, assistant trade officer, India-China border trade, told TOI. 
 
Last year, business transactions worth over Rs 6.55 crore took place between India and China, of which imports by Indian traders stood at Rs 5.59 crore and exports by them stood at Rs 96.5 lakh. 
 
While Indian traders import readymade garments, shoes, raw wool and blanket, items like sugar candy, jiggery, cosmetic items and utensils are exported. 
 
Border trade between the two countries is conducted for five months from June to October at Taklakot market in western Tibet on the Chinese side and in Gunji on the Indian side. Indian government also sets up a temporary State Bank of India branch, a custom office and a police chowki in Gunji for the annual event. Notably, the traditional trade with erstwhile Tibet which was closed after the 1962 Sino-India border conflict was resumed in 1991. 
    
Source: Times of india



RBI governor Shaktikanta Das sees positives for India economy

Jul 23, 2019

Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das gave his first interview with media since taking office in December. Here’s an edited transcript of the topics he covered in the more than 50 minute interview.
 
On the economic slowdown and the RBI’s response:
 
‘The accommodative stance will depend on incoming data. How inflation numbers look how the growth numbers look. Primarily how inflation looks. With regard to the slowdown, I would not give a particular timeline and it’s not possible. But overall if you see the trend, I think the fourth quarter of last year was partly a base effect and partly due to investment slowdown and demand contraction, which I had articulated in the monetary policy committee minutes. For that, so far as monetary authority is concerned, the law gives us a certain role and mandate and we have tried our best to play that role. We have reduced the policy rates by 75 basis points and we have shifted to accommodative. And shifting of the stance to accommodative itself means a rate cut of 25 basis points at least. So therefore effectively, the rate cuts has been 100 basis points if you take into account the change in stance.’
    
Source: Hindustan Times



India sews coalition of 9 nations to push development at WTO

Jul 23, 2019

India has formed a coalition of nine countries to place special provisions for developing countries and high farm subsidies in advanced nations that harm African states at the forefront of global trade talks. 
 
Stating that special and differential treatment (S&DT) is a non-negotiable right for all developing countries, the grouping said all members, no matter their trade share, must have an equal say in decision making of the World Trade Organization (WTO). 
 
India, South Africa, Bolivia, Cuba, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Ecuador, Tunisia and Malawi have suggested preservation of consensus decision making and reaffirming special provisions for developing countries to address asymmetries in global trade. This comes as the US and Canada, among other countries, have questioned the eligibility of developing countries for special provisions even as they propose rule making for issues such as e-commerce and investment, which don’t have the multilateral mandate. 
 
 
Our paper has development at its core, which was neglected in developed countries’ proposals. It highlights the asymmetries in WTO agreements, which no country can shy away from now, said an official aware of the proposal made by the coalition, adding that more members are expected to join. 
 
China, Canada, the US and Norway, too, have submitted reform proposals but experts said a coalition on S&DT is a key milestone for the developing nations. 
 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



India mulls ways to give least duty cuts to China in long time period in RCEP

Jul 23, 2019

India is looking at different arrangements to give minimum tariff cuts to Chinese goods and delay the concessions by a long number of years amid industry’s fears of cheap imports from Beijing flooding the country as it prepares to conclude a mega regional trade pact next month. 
 
In marathon meetings with industry on Monday in Mumbai, which will continue on Tuesday in Delhi, commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal heard their objections and the products they want to be protected in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 
 
 
The government has discussed different categories of phasing out the duty cuts but that is a matter of negotiation, said a person aware of the meetings. 
 
New Delhi has considered duty cuts on Chinese goods over a maximum 25 year period. 
 
The stakeholder consultations could be the last set of talks ahead of trade minister-level deliberations in China on the proposed agreement in August 2-3 when it is expected to get concluded after having been negotiated for seven years. 
 
Convened a consultation meet on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) with industry representatives from various sectors, Goyal said in a tweet on Monday. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



New waterways on India-Bangladesh foreign secretaries agenda

Jul 23, 2019

proposed waterways between India and Bangladesh would be discussed at the foreign secretary-level meeting in Dhaka in October, a top official has said.
 
The Union DoNER (Development of North Eastern Region) Ministry is prioritising multi-modal connectivity in India's northeastern region, including water connectivity, and has proposed 16 waterway projects, mostly involving Bangladesh.
 
Since 1972, four inland water routes between India and Bangladesh are operational.
 
These are Kolkata-Pandu (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Kolkata-Karimganj (in southern Assam) via Bangladesh, Rajshahi (in Bangladesh)-Dhulian (in southern Assam) and Karimganj-Pandu-Karimganj via Bangladesh.
 
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) officials informed us that the proposed waterways between India and Bangladesh would be discussed in the next foreign secretary-level meeting in Dhaka in October, Tripura government's Principal Secretary (Transport) Laihlia Darlong told IANS.
 
ALSO READ: 'Floating cattle' smuggling prompts BSF to deploy more resources along Bangladesh border 
 
The Rs 2,483 crore proposed waterway (project) between Tripura and Bangladesh would also be discussed in the foreign secretary-level meeting. The entire expenditure of the new waterway projects would be born by the Indian government, he added.
 
The IWAI officials also informed us that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the proposed 18 km waterway between Gomati (Tripura) and Meghna (Bangladesh) would be finalised by September.
 
Darlong said that to create the new waterway between the two countries, 15 km dredging has to be done in the Meghna river in Bangladesh and three km in Tripura's Gomati river.
 
A joint technical committee of India and Bangladesh had recently visited the proposed site at Sonamura in western Tripura, where the IWAI would construct the terminal for the proposed river waterway, he added.
    
Source: New Indian Express



Ahead of S Jaishankar’s visit, Beijing reaches out to bridge differences

Jul 23, 2019

Ahead of external affairs minister S Jaishankar’s visit to Beijing next month to prepare the grounds for the second bilateral informal summit, China’s new envoy to India has said the two sides should narrow their differences and step up cooperation on the world stage.
 
Ambassador-designate Sun Weidong, set to arrive in New Delhi on July 21, told a small group of Indian journalists in Beijing on Friday the two countries should ensure no individual issue disrupts bilateral relations. China also wants India to stand with it against unilateralism and protectionism, he said.
 
Jaishankar is expected to travel to China in mid-August for discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, and other officials to prepare for the second informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Xi Jinping on October 11, people familiar with developments in New Delhi and Beijing said. Though the date for the summit has been decided, the two sides are yet to agree on a venue, the people said.
 
Sun, a veteran diplomat who served as the envoy to Islamabad during 2013-17, said China attaches great importance to ties with India and the first informal summit at Wuhan last year had guided relations back on track. We have to do more just than managing differences and take more initiative in shaping our relationship. I think we share very enormous potential for cooperation and our shared interests far outweigh our differences, he said. That’s why we need to focus on cooperation, make it a bigger pie and to narrow down the list of our problems and issues and not allow any individual case at a certain time to disrupt the development of our bilateral relations. The Wuhan summit, held in the aftermath of the 2017 military face-off at Doklam, helped put relations back on an even keel and both sides are looking to the second summit to add greater heft to ties in areas ranging from security to trade and investment. Against the backdrop of its bruising trade war with the US, China has also been making efforts to woo India to its side. Calling for deepening of practical cooperation and strengthening of strategic synergy, Sun said: We are both faced with challenges from unilateralism and protectionism. So we have to resolutely defend multilateralism and economic globalisation and stand against unilateralism and protectionism.
    
Source: Hindustan Times



U.S.-India Bilateral Trade Projected to Grow to $238 billion by 2025, says Trade Report

Jul 23, 2019

The US-India Strategic Partnership Forum (USISPF) estimates that U.S.-India bilateral trade is likely to grow from $143 billion to $238 billion by 2025. This growth will occur if trade grows by 7.5% each year, as has been the trend for the last 7 years.
 
The estimate also projects that, by 2025, bilateral trade could range between $283 billion to $327 billion, at an annual average growth rate of 10%-12.5% (as witnessed in 2017 and 2018). The assessment underscores pathways for growth and economic opportunity in our bilateral ties by highlighting current trends. Sectors such as defense trade, commercial aircrafts, oil and LNG, coal, machinery and electronics are areas of potential growth in U.S. investments and commerce into India. Similarly, Indian industry has an opportunity to promote the automotive, pharmaceuticals, seafood, IT and travel services to the U.S. market.
 
The assessment was launched at USISPF’s second annual leadership summit, amid overwhelming bipartisan support for U.S.-India ties. U.S. Cabinet officials in attendance included: Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives; Rick Perry, United States Secretary of Energy; Wilbur Ross, U.S. Commerce Secretary; Jeffrey Gerrish, Deputy United States Trade Representative for Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Industrial Competitiveness; U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK); and India’s Ambassador to the United States, Harsh Shringla. During the summit, speakers highlighted areas of bilateral cooperation, including: trade and investment; strategic energy ties; manufacturing, and the U.S.-India innovation partnership.
 
Speaking at the summit, USISPF Chair, John Chambers said, Prime Minister Modi’s
re-election is the start of a new era for India and US-India relations. It is my honor to be in Washington, D.C. today to commemorate the second annual USISPF leadership summit, where conversations with political and business leaders from both countries focused on India’s projected growth in the coming months and years. While India’s ambition to become a $5 trillion economy by 2025 is certainly welcome for businesses, government, and individual citizens in the U.S. and India, it is essential that we level the playing field and stay away from protectionism. I am confident that we can achieve $327 billion in bilateral trade by 2025 if we grow at 13% every year. I challenge the government and industry to work together to advance this objective.
    
Source: Theindianpanorama.news



RCEP trade ministers to meet in Beijing next month

Jul 23, 2019

Commerce ministers of 16 countries including India and Japan which are negotiating the mega free trade agreement RCEP will hold a crucial meeting in Beijing next month to iron out differences and push the negotiations forward, an official said. The ministers will meet on August 2-3 in Beijing, immediately after conclusion of the 27th round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) at Zheng Zhou in China, the official added.
 
The round, at the chief negotiator level, will commence from July 22. It will end on July 31. The last round of talks concluded earlier this month in the Australian city of Melbourne. RCEP bloc includes the 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and their six free trade pact partners — Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and New Zealand.
 
The countries are looking to conclude the talks by the end of this year. However, certain domestic sectors, including metals, have raised concerns over the presence of China in the grouping as India has huge trade deficit with the country. In fact, India has registered trade deficit in 2018-19 with as many as 11 RCEP member countries, including China, South Korea and Australia.
 
The trade agreement aims to cover issues related to goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights. In the merchandise sector, all the countries want India to eliminate customs duties on maximum number of goods as the country’s huge domestic market provides immense opportunity for exports. India trades in over 11,500 products. Certain sensitive sectors like agriculture are mostly kept out of the purview of such agreements to protect the interest of farmers.
    
Source: Financial Express



CII identifies 31 items with high export potential

Jul 23, 2019

In a study on ways to boost merchandise exports,  the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has identified 31 items with high potential for exports such as women’s apparel, drugs, cyclic hydrocarbons and furniture.
 
A targeted export strategy that identifies and boosts the right products is imperative for achieving double-digit export growth. An export strategy assumes greater significance given a rapidly changing global trade landscape, shifting of global value chains and new free trade agreements, including mega trade agreements. CII has analysed and identified select export items where India can become a leading exporter and offers recommendations for boosting such products, said Chandrajit Banerjee, Director-General, CII, in an official release.
 
India’s exports in the first quarter of the on-going fiscal contracted compared to exports in the same period last year due to weakening of global trade growth and lower demand. In 2018-19, India’s exports  increased 9 per cent to  hit a new high of $331 billion, breaching the previous high of $314 billion clocked in 2013-14.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



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