Probes could harm trade: experts
India's probes into goods from China could be harmful to bilateral trade and cooperation, experts said, after the country launched a new anti-dumping probe into Chinese textile products amid a border stand-off.
Domestic news portal cctv.com reported on Tuesday that India's trade remedy authority launched a new anti-dumping probe on Monday against high tenacity yarn, a textile product, from China.
The report said that India launched more probes against imported Chinese goods in 2016 than any other country, reaching a total of 21 cases.
In 2016, Chinese exports were the targets of 91 anti-dumping probes worldwide, from 27 countries and regions, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM).
The probe into high tenacity yarn came as China urged India on Monday to immediately withdraw its border guards that crossed the boundary between the two countries and conduct a thorough investigation into the matter, according to the Xinhua News Agency.
On June 20, India's trade remedy authority made its final ruling on Chinese tempered glass and levied an anti-dumping tax of up to $136 per ton on the product, according to a post on the MOFCOM website.
When asked whether there would be more anti-dumping probes by India in the second half, Bai Ming, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said that even if there is a decrease in the anti-dumping investigations, India still probes Chinese goods far more than most other developing countries.
"India has always been an active player to conduct anti-dumping investigations into Chinese products. Such investigations are not large in value, compared with those done by the US or EU, but the number of the cases is significant," Bai told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Bai said that the probes are disrupting China-India trade ties and economic cooperation, and are also bad for the cooperation among the BRICS countries - Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
China will host the ninth BRICS Summit this September.
In 2016, trade between India and China decreased 1.7 percent year-on-year to $69.62 billion. India mainly exports minerals, textiles and chemical products to China, while China exports electromechanical and chemical products to India. India's trade deficit with China stood at $51.69 billion in 2016.
"Though I don't think there is a Thucydides trap between China and India, there is a competitive relationship there, as the population and economic size of the two countries are similar," Bai said.
"China has been a frontrunner for years, but we have seen India catch up swiftly. Such a situation means trade frictions are likely to occur between the two countries," Bai noted.
China is also probing some Indian products. On June 8, MOFCOM said it was probing imports of Meta Phenoxy Benzaldehyde, a chemical, from India.
However, Sumeet Chander, general manager of Evalueserve Business Consulting (Shanghai) Corp, who is from India, said that the probes won't harm trade ties and economic cooperation.
"Given that we are neighbors and we have had some problems in the past, there will be some issues such as anti-dumping probes and border issues, but I don't think these will have any significant impact on the overall relationship. On the economic front, I think the overall relationship will continue to grow," Chander told the Global Times on Wednesday.
It is hard to predict if there will be more or less probes in the second half of the year, as they only happen when companies present complaints to the government, Chander noted.
"India and China are the drivers of global trade and global growth now. They are the fastest-growing major world economies. India definitely wants more Chinese investment. And Chinese companies, looking to expand globally, are also showing interest in opportunities in India, in sectors such as telecommunications, e-commerce, property and infrastructure," Chander said.
"So looking at a very broad level, the governments on both sides will be interested in building a strong and good relationship," said Chander.
Mao Siwei, a former diplomat stationed in India, noted that there is no need to connect the dots between India's probe into Chinese products and the recent border incident.