China Asked to Buy Indian Pharma Goods

By Sarwar Kashani

Sanya (China), April 13 (IANS) China was asked Wednesday by Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa to buy more of their value added products, with a particular reference to Indian pharmaceuticals.

The demand was made at a meeting of trade ministers of the five BRICS nations (including China) in this palm-tree dotted coastal city on the Chinese island of Hainan, ahead of the 3rd BRICS summit Thursday which will be attended by Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Manmohan Singh arrived here Tuesday.

Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming promised his country would make it "a priority to import more value added products" from BRICS countries, according to Indian Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma.

If this were to happen, it will help reduce the trade imbalance in favour of China that India calls a matter of "concern". India is seeking greater market access to bridge the deficit.

Sharma, who is accompanying the prime minister, spoke to reporters briefly after the close-door meeting at a beachside resort.

Inputs from the trade ministers' meeting would go to the BRICS summit to be addressed by Manmohan Singh, China's Hu Jintao, Brazil's Dilma Rousseff, Russia's Dmitry Medvedev and South Africa's Jacob Zuma. The leaders have gathered here for the annual summit.

Brazil and India have also complained that the Chinese currency yuan was undervalued and therefore undermines their exports.

The trade deficit between India and China was underscored Tuesday by Sharma.

"Trade imbalance with China has been a matter of concern. It has been discussed at the highest level when the prime minister met the Chinese president in Vietnam in October last year," Sharma told journalists.

He said: "India has sought more access in Chinese markets so that the gap could be closed."

The trade imbalance in favour of China had gone up to $20 billion in the overall bilateral trade of nearly $60 billion in 2010. In 2009, this was about $16 billion.

The matter is likely to be raised when Manmohan Singh and Chinese President Hu Jintao meet bilaterally later Wednesday.

Manmohan Singh arrived here Tuesday at the start of a five-day visit that will also take him to Kazakhstan.


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