SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) — India’s trade deficit with its neighbors in China increased to $52.69 billion in 2015-16 from $48.48 billion the previous year, the country’s parliament was informed Monday.

From a period stretching April through September, the deficit was north of $25 billion alone, according to a written statement from Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

“Increasing trade deficit with China can be attributed primarily to the fact that Chinese exports to India rely strongly on manufactured items to meet the demand of fast expanding sectors like telecom and power,” she said.

India are currently negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement keeping in view “its offensive export interests” as well as sensitivities with respect to all participating countries including China, she said. Sitharaman added that efforts to increase overall exports is currently underway through the diversifying of trade baskets with emphasis on manufactured goods, services, resolution of market access issues and other non-tariff barriers.

The minister said that per the regulations of the WTO, which both nations are members of, any restrictions imposed on trade needs to be WTO compliant. No blanket ban can be imposed on China or any other member country under the WTO framework, she added.

Sitharaman said India’s import of bulk drugs from China stood at $1.63 billion in 2015-16, which represents 64 percent of India’s total bulk drug imports. Overall, India had imported such drugs worth $2.5 billion last fiscal year.

“Efforts are being made for revival of (Active Pharmaceutical Ingredient) API industry to lessen dependency on import of key starting materials, intermediates and bulk drugs including from China,” the minister said.