Modi, Xi may attack trade protectionism

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Chinese President Xi Jinping. PTI File Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping may send out a strong message against trade protectionism when they meet at Wuhan in central China later this week.

Modi and Xi are set to hold the “informal summit” when United States and China are embroiled in a trade war. American President Donald Trump's administration in Washington has drawn up plans to impose 25% tariff on 1,333 items (worth almost $50 billion) imported from China to the US. Beijing retaliated by identifying 106 items imported by the US from China for imposing a matching 25% tariff. The tit-for-tat moves by Beijing and Washington raised fears of a trade war with global implications.

Modi and Xi will exchange views on trade protectionism and may reach a consensus on the need to resist protectionist measures. Though the two leaders are unlikely to issue a joint statement or interact with media-persons, the similarities in their views on the issue would be made public by Indian and Chinese officials, sources told DH.

The US even dragged China to the World Trade Organisation for discriminatory technology licensing requirements in the communist country.

Import duty challenged

Washington last month also challenged New Delhi's export subsidies scheme at the WTO. Trump expressed his displeasure over high import duty imposed by India on high-end motorcycles of the likes of Harley-Davidson and others. New Delhi is also worried over Trump administration's move to make certain changes in H1-B and L-1 visa programmes that could cause inconvenience to Indian professionals working in the US.

Speaking at a conclave of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Beijing, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday argued that “economic globalisation” should be “more open, inclusive, equitable and balanced for mutual benefits”. She called for rejection of protectionism in all its forms and stressed on the need for “efforts to discipline measures that constitute barriers to trade”.

Free trade

In an article published in China's state-owned People's Daily on Wednesday, Luo Zhaohui, Beijing's envoy to New Delhi, noted that the informal summit between the two leaders was taking place amid protectionist moves against globalisation. He wrote that the leaders of China and India had been strong advocates of free trade and globalisation and the similarities in the views of the two leaders on this issue was “conducive to strengthening the solidarity and cooperation of developing countries and safeguarding fairness and justice around the world”.

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