India’s imports from China decline sharply as Atmanirbhar Bharat mission gets a boost

India-China bilateral trade in 2020 decreased by 5.64% Y-o-Y and stood at USD 87.65 billion compared to USD 92.89 billion in 2019, according to Union Commerce Ministry’s recent data on India-China trade in 2020. Notably, Indian imports from China also dropped by 10.87% and stood at USD 66.78 billion compared to USD 74.92 billion in 2019.

“Good signs that Indian exports to China increased by 16.15% from USD 17.896 billion to reach USD 20.87 billion in 2020. This is the highest level ever for Indian exports to China and the first time they have crossed USD 20 billion,” said the ministry.

Accordingly, the trade deficit with China has declined by 19.39% from USD 56.95 billion in 2019 to USD 45.91 billion.

On the other hand, among the top 15 Indian exports (at HS-2 level), a steep rise was witnessed in 2020 in ores (75.35%), iron and steel (336%), aluminum (2023%) and copper, and related USD 4 billion and making India the fourth largest exporter of iron ores to China.

According to the ministry, exports of iron and steel amounted to USD 2.53 billion, marking a Y-o-Y increase of 336.44% and making India the fourth largest exporter of iron and steel to China.

Exports of aluminum and its articles registered a massive increase of 2023.12% to reach USD 640 million and making India the fifth largest exporter in this category to China (India ranked 21st in 2019), it stated.

Among the key agricultural commodities, including sugar, rice, oil, etc, which we had focused on in 2019, total exports saw an increase of 58.99% from USD 125.3 million in 2019 to USD 1 99.14 million in 2020. The major contributors to this increase were cane sugar (387.5%), Soyabean oil (3050%), rice (184%), and vegetable fats, and oils (415%).

The exports of mangoes and fish oil, however, declined dramatically to nil, while tea declined by 6.94% and fresh grapes had a fall of 24.1%.

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