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Foreign trade figures of India

Foreign Trade in Figures

India used to be a protectionist state for a long time, but the country has become progressively more open to international trade. Currently, trade represents 49% of its GDP (World Bank). The country mainly exports petroleum oils (20.9%), diamonds (5.3%), medicaments (3.9%), articles of jewellery (2.7%), telephone (2.4%), and rice (2.4%), while it imports petroleum oils (23.7%), coal and similar solid fuels (6.7%), gold (5%), petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons (4.4%), and diamonds (3.7%- data Comtrade 2022).

India’s main export partners are the United States (17.7%), the United Arab Emirates (6.9%), the Netherlands (4.1%), China (3.3%), and Bangladesh (3.1%), whereas imports come chiefly from China (14.0%), the United Arab Emirates (7.4%), the United States (7.1%), Saudi Arabia (6.3%), and Russia (5.5% - data Comtrade 2022). The country has recently signed free trade agreements with South Korea and ASEAN and has entered into negotiations with several partners (EU, MERCOSUR, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). In 2021, Brazil and India signalled their interest in expanding the FTA that India has with MERCOSUR, but the expansion is still under negotiation, pending approval from other members of the South American bloc. India is currently the world’s fastest-growing large economy, as well as the world's eighteenth-largest exporter and ninth-largest importer of goods (WTO). However, the trade regime and regulatory environment still remain relatively restrictive.

The country's trade balance is structurally negative, given that the country imports nearly 80% of its energy needs. However, as India benefits from the fluctuations in world hydrocarbon prices for its imports, the trade deficit has been oscillating for the past few years. In 2022, India exported USD 453.4 billion worth of goods, while imports accounted for USD 720.4 billion (+14.6% and +25.7% y-o-y, respectively). According to WTO figures, in the same year, exports of services amounted to USD 309.3 billion (+28.6% y-o-y), whereas the imports of services stood at USD 249.5 billion (+27.3% y-o-y). The overall trade deficit for 2022 was estimated at 3.7% of GDP by the World Bank. According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, during April-October 2023, the overall trade deficit declined by 35.86% dropping from USD 89.86 billion in 2022 to USD 57.64 billion. Additionally, the merchandise trade deficit showed improvement, decreasing from USD 167.14 billion in April-October 2022 to USD 147.07 billion in April-October 2023.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20182019202020212022
Imports of Goods (million USD) 514,464486,059373,202573,092720,441
Exports of Goods (million USD) 324,778324,340276,410395,426453,400
Imports of Services (million USD) 176,059179,430153,737195,956249,522
Exports of Services (million USD) 204,956214,762203,145240,510309,374

Source: World Trade Organisation (WTO) ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Indicators 20182019202020212022
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 43.639.937.845.749.4
Trade Balance (million USD) -186,692-157,678-95,450-176,721-267,188
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -105,918-73,452-8,342-74,039-134,661
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 8.8-0.8-13.721.818.8
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 11.9-3.4-9.129.311.5
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 23.721.219.124.226.9
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 19.918.718.721.522.4

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 20232024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)2027 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) -0.94.74.34.44.4
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 2.56.06.06.16.7

Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook ; Latest available data

Note: (e) Estimated Data

 
International Economic Cooperation
India is a member of the following international economic organisations: IMF, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) (dialogue partner), ICC, Colombo Plan, Commonwealth, G-15, G-20, G-24, G-77, WTO, among others. For the full list of economic and other international organisations in which participates India click here. International organisation membership of India is also outlined here.
Free Trade Agreements
The complete and up-to-date list of Free Trade Agreements signed by India can be consulted here.
 

Main Partner Countries

Main Customers
(% of Exports)
2022
United States 17.7%
United Arab Emirates 6.9%
Netherlands 4.1%
China 3.3%
Bangladesh 3.1%
See More Countries 64.9%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2022
China 14.0%
United Arab Emirates 7.4%
United States 7.1%
Saudi Arabia 6.3%
Russia 5.5%
See More Countries 59.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

452.7 bn USD of products exported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals (excl. crude); preparations containing >= 70% by weight of petroleum oils or of oils obtained from bituminous minerals, these oils being the basic constituents of the preparations, n.e.s.; waste oils containing mainly petroleum or bituminous minerals 20.9%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 5.3%
Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed...Medicaments consisting of mixed or unmixed products for therapeutic or prophylactic uses, put up in measured doses "incl. those in the form of transdermal administration" or in forms or packings for retail sale (excl. goods of heading 3002, 3005 or 3006) 3.9%
Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of...Articles of jewellery and parts thereof, of precious metal or of metal clad with precious metal (excl. articles > 100 years old) 2.7%
Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular...Telephone sets, incl. telephones for cellular networks or for other wireless networks; other apparatus for the transmission or reception of voice, images or other data, incl. apparatus for communication in a wired or wireless network [such as a local or wide area network]; parts thereof (excl. than transmission or reception apparatus of heading 8443, 8525, 8527 or 8528) 2.4%
See More Products 64.9%
732.6 bn USD of products imported in 2022
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 23.7%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 6.7%
Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought...Gold, incl. gold plated with platinum, unwrought or not further worked than semi-manufactured or in powder form 5.0%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.4%
Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted...Diamonds, whether or not worked, but not mounted or set (excl. unmounted stones for pick-up styluses, worked stones, suitable for use as parts of meters, measuring instruments or other articles of chapter 90) 3.7%
See More Products 56.5%

Source: Comtrade, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

To go further, check out our service Import Export Flows.

 

Main Services

308.4 bn USD of services exported in 2022
45.85%
24.65%
12.14%
6.93%
3.29%
2.23%
1.24%
1.12%
1.09%
1.08%
0.38%
171.5 bn USD of services imported in 2022
33.39%
25.02%
15.09%
9.18%
6.08%
3.08%
2.53%
1.67%
1.41%
1.35%
1.20%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2023. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

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Latest Update: February 2024