India unprepared to realize aim of replacing China as industrial power amid trade dispute

By Xiao Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/27 21:18:40

India's intention of gaining from the trade dispute between China and the US will likely prove to be pie in the sky, as the South Asian nation isn't ready to take advantage of any such opportunity.

"India will focus on boosting exports to the US and other global markets as Chinese shipments become unattractive" amid the China-US trade row, said Indian Trade Minister Suresh Prabhu in an interview, according to a Bloomberg article dated Monday. The minister revealed that New Delhi is focusing on items including auto parts, chemicals and electrical equipment, after the world's two largest economies slapped duties on each other's goods.

This apparently laid bare New Delhi's plans to turn Beijing's trade tussle with Washington into an opportunity to get a bigger slice of the global trade pie. India's share of world exports stood at 1.68 percent in 2017, according to WTO statistics, compared with China's 12.77 percent.

While New Delhi seems eager to benefit from the dispute, it is apparent that the nation is so eager to catapult itself into a trade power that it's overlooking a bleak reality - there is little chance of "Make in India" overtaking "Made in China" in the US market.

US merchandise imports from India totaled $48.6 billion in 2017, while imports from the Chinese mainland hit $505.5 billion, according to US trade statistics.

The US does want to relocate the supply chains it needs to make a wide range of products. But it's unlikely that India or any other country can fill the gap that would be left by China in terms of trade size. It's also impossible for any economy to conjure up supply chains as comprehensive as those of China out of nothing.

This is especially the case in India, whose industrial capabilities still have a long way to go before matching China's manufacturing prowess. It's not likely that attracting one or two companies to manufacture in India will quickly produce what the US wants. What's needed are complete production systems, almost a mission impossible for New Delhi at present.

The author is a reporter with the Global Times.


blog comments powered by Disqus