ICS Occasional Papers

Changing Patterns in India-China Trade Relations

Recent global trade developments, including a sluggish global economy, slowing trade, heightened trade disputes, and now an expected disruption on account of coronavirus in China has led to the recasting of an outward-looking economy’s strategies for external engagement. In this context, and taking into account India’s weak trade performance, an examination of its economic equations with its largest trading partner, China, would help in India’s overall response to shifting trade patterns. This analysis studies what has changed over the last two years in the India-China economic relationship and finds that while on the one hand, China has been occupied in navigating the trade issues with the US, on the other, it is in the process of diversifying its global commercial engagement with an increasing focus on its neighbour to the south. With phase 1 of the US-China trade deal concluded, India has before it a template to garner China’s attention towards bilateral trade issues, which are now reaching alarming proportions. 


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