Indian Exporters Cautiously Watching Respiratory Illness In China; Say Cause Of concern If Spreads More

The government on November 24 stated that India is prepared for any kind of exigency that may emerge from the current influenza situation in China
Outbreak of H9N2
Outbreak of H9N2

Expressing concern over the current influenza situation in China, domestic exporters on Sunday said that they are cautiously watching the situation as any spread of the disease may again hurt global supply chains and impact world trade.

They said that the present situation is not alarming but if the illness spreads to other parts of the globe, it will have an impact on world trade as China is a hub of global manufacturing and exports.

The government on November 24 stated that India is prepared for any kind of exigency that may emerge from the current influenza situation in China and it is monitoring the outbreak of H9N2 and clusters of respiratory illness in children in that country.

There is a low risk to India from the avian influenza, H9N2, cases reported in China as well as the clusters of respiratory illness, the Union health ministry has said.

Some media reports indicated a clustering of cases of respiratory illness in children in northern China for which the World Health Organization (WHO) has also issued a statement.

Leading leather exporter and Farida Group Chairman Rafeeq Ahmed said: “We are cautiously watching the situation. If the diseases spread, it will have an impact on trade”.

Sharing similar views, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) Director General Ajay Sahai said: “We are definitely concerned and most of the things depend on its spread. The next 5-6 days will be crucial”.

He added that China is the major economy of the world and at present the global economic slowdown is already impacting exporters and importers.

“If it spreads to more areas, then there will be a problem," Sahai said.

Mumbai-based exporter Khalid Khan also said that during the Covid pandemic, the global supply chain was disrupted and if the current diseases in China spread again, it can again hit the chain.

“We are watching the situation closely. At present there should not be any panic,” Khan said.

Ludhiana-based engineering exporter S C Ralhan added that so far there is no problem or threat to the global supply chain and their imports are smooth from the neighbouring country.

China is a major trading partner of India. During April-October 2023, imports from China stood at USD 60 billion against USD 60.26 billion in the same period in 2022.

India's exports to that country during the seven months of this fiscal increased to USD 8.92 billion as against USD 8.85 billion during April-October 2022.

Government think tank NITI Aayog has initiated a study to develop a comprehensive action plan to bridge India's trade deficit with China over time and align trading strategies with emerging geopolitical situations and potential risks to safeguard supply chains.

During 2022-23, India's two-way commerce with China declined by about 1.5 per cent to USD 113.83 billion as against USD 115.42 billion in 2021-22.

Exports to China dipped by about 28 per cent to USD 15.32 billion in 2022-23, while imports rose by 4.16 per cent to USD 98.51 billion in the last fiscal.

The trade gap widened to USD 83.2 billion in the last fiscal as against USD 72.91 billion in 2021-22.

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