Calls to boycott Chinese product hurt India more than China

Not just militarily, India unable to take on China economically as well



August 11, 2022

/ By / New Delhi

Calls to boycott Chinese product hurt India more than China

In 2013-14, Chinese exports to India were USD 51.03 billion, making the total bilateral trade to USD 62.96 billion

The repeated Chinese incursions across the 4500 km long border with India have largely gone unanswered, at least at the political level, despite all threatening noises made by Indian Prime Minister and his famous ‘red eyes’. Similarly, despite the noises made by the ruling cohort in India about boycotting China and hurting it economically, India’s trade deficit with China keeps hitting new highs, indicating how dependent Indian economy is on China.

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A news report says that a chartered flight China Southern Airlines with 107 Indian traders on board left from New Delhi and landed in Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang province on Tuesday.

The report goes on to say that this particular group was the largest group of Indians to have landed in China on board a single aircraft ever since the suspension of the special flights, the so-called Vande Bharat flights, in November 2020 as many Indians on board had tested positive for Covid-19 when they had landed in Wuhan. The direct commercial flights between the two countries have remained suspended since March 2020, even though India has allowed operation of regular international flights since March 27, 2022. But as China battles the pandemic with its zero-Covid policy, with limited success, it has not yet allowed in normal flights from overseas.

The journey undertaken by the Indian traders on August 10 on the chartered CSA plane is hardly going to be an easy one. The traders will need to stay under a strictly-imposed 10-day-long quarantine in Hangzhou, complete with frequent testing. Once they successfully complete the quarantine, the traders are likely to head to Yiwu, the world’s largest commodities hub, about 130 km south of Hangzhou.

Ironically, just as they landed, Yiwu has gone into a quasi-lockdown as a press release by the local government this morning said that the latest Covid-19 flare-up was severe. In order to completely cut off virus transmission chain, the city government decided to impose three days of ‘static management’.

Until further orders, the residents of Yiwu have been asked to stay indoors at their homes and their daily necessities will be delivered to their doorsteps. Except medical institutes and agencies that provide essential livelihoods, other public venues have also been shut down, and most companies, except for those that can guarantee a closed-loop management, have been asked to shut operations. Schools and universities, too, told to suspend in-person classes. Yiwu has seen a surge of cases since August 2, with 476 positive cases having been reported until this morning and the fresh case load on Wednesday was 21.

“India is Yiwu’s second-largest export destination. The arrival of this charter flight marked the re-opening of the door for Indian merchants to return to Yiwu for procurement. More than 2,000 Indian merchants resided in Yiwu in the peak period,” says Chinese state-owned newspaper Global Times quoting a local official.


Desperation drives Indian importers to China

Despite being aware of very serious risks of being blocked in China, the fact that 107 Indian traders have gone ahead and charter an aircraft to go to China to import merchandise. This is a clear indication of the level of desperation that the Indian businesses find themselves, when deprived of goods from China, which over the past decade, have become the lifeline of Indian economy, despite all the claims of ‘success’ of Make in India programme of Narendra Modi or his slogan of self-reliance or even the frequent calls for boycotting Chinese products in the Indian market issued by various elements of the ruling coterie.

These actions and slogans have consistently proven to be hollow and entirely ineffective and it becomes evident when one considers trade between China and India, which has consistently grown over the years and grown rather rapidly. The other big indicator of Indian dependence is that the trade seems to almost entirely one-way as India’s trade deficit with China has ballooned over the past eight years.

In 2013-14, Indian exports to China stood at USD 11.93 billion, Chinese exports to India were USD 51.03 billion, making the total bilateral trade to USD 62.96 billion and the Indian deficit stood at under USD 40 billion. Now, eight years on, the overall trade is expected to cross USD 100 billion for the second consecutive year.

Last year, the India-China bilateral trade hit a record high of over USD 125 billion crossing the USD 100 billion mark in a year when the relations touched a new low due to standoff by the militaries in Eastern Ladakh.

In the first six months, the total trade was USD 67.08 billion, amidst a big surge of Chinese exports that have risen by 34.5 pc to USD 57.51 billion. Indian exports in the first six month, on the contrary, shrunk by an even bigger proportion, falling 35.3 pc to under USD 9.57 billion, leaving the Indian trade deficit for barely six months at USD 47.94 billion, or 20 pc more than the full-year trade deficit in 2013-14.

Also Read – Atmanirbhar Bharat & ballooning trade deficit with China

                      India getting too close to US for China’s comfort. 

                      European Union’s China challenge.

This means that on a pro-rata basis, China could end the full year with a record deficit exceeding USD 80 billion or 43 pc of India’s total deficit last year. This figure is an indication to the extent of which India is economically dependent upon China and hence any call to boycott Chinese products or put restrictions on Chinese imports will only go to hurt the Indian economy that is already struggling since many years.



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