US-China trade war opportunity for Indian commerce: Jaitley

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Arun Jaitley

New Delhi– The ongoing US-China trade war may have created current instability in the global economy, but will gradually open up opportunities for India to expand as a bigger trading and manufacturing base, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Friday.

Addressing the annual session here of the PHD Chamber of Commerce via video conference, Jaitley said that despite rising global oil prices also posing a challenge for the domestic economy, the future holds promising opportunities for India’s growth story.

“The trade war initially created instability, but eventually may open up greater markets. They will open up India as a bigger trading and manufacturing base and, therefore, we must closely watch the situation as to when the challenge turns into an opportunity,” Jaitley said.

The ongoing trade war between the US and China further escalated this week as the two economic powerhouses slapped each other with the largest rounds of tariffs yet, unleashing punitive duties now on roughly half of their traded goods.

President Donald Trump’s new 10 per cent tariff on $200 billion of Chinese goods went into effect on Monday, spanning thousands of products, including food seasonings, baseball gloves, network routers and industrial machinery parts.

It immediately prompted Beijing to respond with tariffs on $60 billion of American goods. Neither country showed signs of backing down and there are no further trade talks scheduled to resolve the dispute.

The latest global trade protectionist measures, along with high crude oil prices, put the Indian rupee on a downward spiral this month, dragging it down to a record low of 72.98 against the US dollar on September 18.

On the impact of rising crude oil prices, Jaitley said: “Notwithstanding these challenges, I’m quite certain that in the days and years to come, there are great opportunities for India in order to grow.”

Petrol and diesel prices have been daily climbing record levels for nearly a month now. While petrol in Mumbai is over Rs 90 per litre, in Delhi it has gone upwards of an all-time high of Rs 83.(IANS)

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