India’s abuse of trade remedies against Chinese products will end up entrapping itself

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/2/22 22:33:40

The first two months of 2018 have turned out to be a peak period for India to pursue trade remedy actions against China, its top trading partner, as the South Asian nation continues moving in a backward direction that'll only end up hobbling its ambitions to rival China.

India has decided to launch a sunset or expiry review of the existing anti-dumping duty imposed on its flat base steel wheel imports from China, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said in a statement on its website on February 13.

With this latest "point" scored in its trade remedy game, India has initiated eight anti-dumping probes against China so far this year, taking aim at Chinese products ranging from coated paper and flax yarn to sun/dust control film and fluoroelastomers.

These actions seem to signal a continuation of India's misguided trade remedy practices, which it has been relying on to reverse its trade deficit with China - a long-standing concern for New Delhi.

Bilateral trade increased by 21.2 percent to $39.59 billion in the first half of 2017, while India's trade deficit with China jumped by 14 percent to $27.89 billion, according to India's official statistics.

Instead of pushing for trade restructuring, which would entail a shift toward more higher-value added activities, India has become addicted to what it mistakenly deems a cure for its trade imbalance with China.

Beijing has tried to sober New Delhi up, with a MOFCOM spokesperson stressing at a press conference in August 2017 that India should avoid abuse of trade remedy measures.

India initiated 21 trade probes into Chinese products in 2016, unseating the US as the top complainant against Chinese products.

From 1994 to August 2017, India launched 212 anti-dumping probes into imports from China.

If New Delhi continues to block out unpalatable advice at a time when it's supposed to open its doors wider to the world, the nation's ambition to become a manufacturing power to rival China will come to nothing.

That India is barely on par with the US and European countries in terms of its manufacturing sector means India's abuse of trade remedies will merely entrap itself. There's no country in the world that can improve its competitiveness by favoring protectionism. That's particularly true in India's case.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


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