Sitharaman in Shanghai to attend BRICS trade ministers meet


Beijing: Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman arrived in Shanghai today to attend the two-day BRICS trade Ministers meeting starting tomorrow during which she is expected to raise India’s concerns over growing trade deficit with China.

The seventh meeting of the Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa (BRICS) will discuss expanding e-commerce cooperation in an upcoming annual meeting, China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said.

E-commerce cooperation, such as in the areas of logistics and payments, is developing fast among the five countries, with many of their products gaining traction on the Chinese market, Zhang Shaogang, director with the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs with the MOC said.

Economic and technological cooperation will be included in the agenda for the first time in the trade ministers meeting’s history to improve the bloc’s capabilities in service trade, e-commerce and other fields, he said.

On the bilateral front, Sitharaman is expected to discuss with her Chinese counterpart the trade deficit in India-China bilateral trade which now crossed over USD 50 billion in little over USD 70 billion over all trade between the two countries.

Also ahead of the meeting, the MOC said India should avoid abusing trade remedy measures and called for settling trade disputes through consultation.

Reacting to India’s move to launch an anti-dumping investigation over photovoltaic cells and units imported from the China, Taiwan, and Malaysia, Wang Hejun, head of the MOC’s trade remedy and investigation bureau said China is paying close attention to the investigation and hopes India will conduct it in a prudent manner and as per relevant rules.

Wang said adopting restrictive measures for the trade of photovoltaic products would not only harm photovoltaic sector development in India, but also dampen the sector’s long-term development worldwide as well as economic and trade cooperation between China and India.

Indian and Chinese officials are taking part in a host BRICS meetings ahead of September summit of the group scheduled to be held next month in China’s Xiamen city.