Indian exporters urge FTA with China The Brics Post India and China have been conducting extensive talks on a historical border dispute for several years [Getty Images] Ahead of a China- India Trade and Commerce Ministers meet, Indian exporters are urging the Narendra Modi government to begin discussions on a free trade agreement with the world’s second largest economy, China. “We should boldly consider an FTA with China as Indian exporters can gain enormously if tariffs are brought down in the Chinese market. We will discuss our proposal for a FTA with China with the Commerce Minister,” said Indian exporters body FIEO chief Rafeeque Ahmed. Chinese Trade Minister Gao Hucheng will hold talks with his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman in Beijing in the first week of next month. India and China have already signed a cooperation agreement on industrial parks aimed at attracting Chinese investments. In 2013-14, bilateral trade between China and India stood at $65.85 billion. The deficit during 2013-14 was $36.22 billion. China invests close to $100 billion annually in different parts of the world whereas in India they have invested only about $410 million in the last 14 years. Meanwhile, on Thursday in the Indian capital, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations said global commerce is showing improvement and it is expected to grow at 4.7 per cent this year and 5.3 per cent in 2015. India’s exports are expected to reach $750 billion by 2018-19 with improvement in the global trade scenario, the FIEO chief said on Thursday in New Delhi. “We are optimistic that we would be able to cross $350 billion this fiscal,” said Ahmed. Indian exports slowed from previous months in July, increasing at 7.3 per cent to $27.72 billion while imports went up 4.25 per cent to $40 billion, the Indian Commerce Ministry said last week. The trade deficit widened to $12.22 billion from $11.76 billion in June. Indian exports were growing more than 10 per cent for two months in a row till June. Rise in exports was largely driven by key manufacturing exports—engineering (23.9 per cent), leather (17.23 per cent), pharma (10.78 per cent), textiles (13.3 per cent)—and petroleum exports (28.1 per cent). India has 16 regional trade agreements in force with a dozen more under negotiation.