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India-China ink 3 MoUs including buffalo meat, pharmaceuticals

NEW DELHI: India and China signed three separate agreements on Monday to give access to three of India's exports to address the imbalanced trade between the two countries.

The trade deficit between the two countries has increased from $19.2 billion in 2009-10 to $40.7 billion in 2012-13.

The agreements will allow India to export buffalo meat, fisheries and pharmaceuticalsand also feed and feed ingredients.

"The signing of the MoUs between India and China is a good beginning to address the issues India is raising with China from time to time," said Commerce and Industry MinisterAnand Sharma after a meeting with his counterpart Gao Hucheng.

All the sectors are of immense trade importance to India and India has clear price and quality competitiveness in these sectors to compete in the world market, Sharma added.

India also raised issues related to trade barriers in pharma, access in IT/ITeS and urged the largest economy in Asia to invest in India's ambitious Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC) project.

India has been finding it difficult to expand its trade with China in the pharmaceutical sector due to the complex registration process and prolonged timelines.

The average imports of medicinal and pharmaceutical products from China during the last five years were $4,332.37 million vis-a-vis exports from India of $692.44 million.

"Market access issues have been considered and discussed, and the MoUs signed, reflect that," said Sharma after the meeting with his counterpart.

Sharma also raised the concern of the Indian IT industry facing some problems in areas of Visa/Work permits and business tax regulations and pointed out that 15% withholding tax on all remittances outside China is a matter of concern to India.

Hucheng on the other hand spoke about collaboration to address multilateral trade issues and safeguard the interest of developing countries in the WTO.

"We have not only talked about measures to address need for closer coordination between India and China in multilateral trading system," he said.

"Doha round is development round and we need to consider most is in the interest of the developing countries."

Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) and India's Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) singed the MoU to allow buffalo meat exports to China.

The export of buffalo meat is not allowed from India to China and this has been a long pending issue between two countries. With the resumption of trade, India hopes a big merchandise trade that will not only be helpful in reducing trade imbalance of India but also in China's food security by providing quality and hygiene meat products.