CHINA's LIKE SALT – NEEDED BUT HARMFUL TOO

about 27 days ago
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We can shout and wail till the throat goes hoarse and the eyes pop out. Yet, nothing will change the fact that China today is an irrefutable truth of our lives; we simply cannot live with it and most certainly without it.

After the pandemic, the entire world got onto the “ban Chinese goods” bandwagon; so did India in a big way. We all did our bit by not buying Chinese made lanterns and Hindu Gods. But beyond that, the truth is that China is so deeply embedded in our day-to-day life that it is virtually impossible to root it out; maybe after 10-years if we work on it but largely, impossible.

For all those who think that we have managed to sideline China, here is a number which will ring in this reality: Trade volume between India and China hit a record high of $100 billion by November’21. And you thought we are making in India?

The bitter truth is that China is very deeply embedded in the international supply chain. And its really not about who will replace whom but how to work together to strengthen their positions in the global supply chain.

India’s reliance on Chinese imports in two product groups - telecom and electronics products, and pharmaceutical intermediates (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients or APIs), is particularly disconcerting given the criticality of these sectors for the Indian economy. The dependence of India’s pharmaceutical industry on China shows that the “pharmacy of the world” has fairly weak foundations. In 2019–20, more than 83% of imports of mobile phones were of Chinese origin; that’s not all, nearly 90% of colour TV sets imported into the country were from China. For all this to change, it will take a decade.

As rightly said by John Maynard Keynes, “Ideas, knowledge, science, hospitality, travel these are the things which should of their nature be international. But let goods be homespun whenever it is reasonably and conveniently possible, and, above all, let finance be primarily national.”

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