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India’s import-export landscape has remained stable in recent years despite major changes in the domestic and international economies. In recent years, India’s main import and export commodities have mostly not changed, while its largest trading partners have also remained the same. This stable import-export structure bodes well for businesses that trade with India, as well as those that would like to expand their operations to the country.
India has been one of the largest importers of crude petroleum in the 2015 Financial Year (FY). In the same year, India has also been one of the largest exporters of petroleum products. These statistics demonstrate a stable level of trade for the oil industry in India. India enjoys a similar trade dynamic with gold, precious and semi-precious stones – the jewelry sector continues to play a leading role in the global trade. Encouragingly, however, India’s import-export landscape is evolving.
The emergence of high levels of telecom instrument imports show that consumer spending on these electronics continue to grow. Foreign investors that would like to invest in this industry will find high levels of demand, an expanding market and government support. Meanwhile, the high levels of pharmaceutical exports show the emergence of an important industry for the Indian economy. This industry is still growing in the country, but it will only become more competitive as it adopts best in industry practices.
The stability of India’s import-export landscape is encouraging for foreign businesses considering investing in the country. However, investors should plan to monitor the evolving nature of imports and exports in India to understand the direction of India’s economic development.
India is the 17th largest export economy in the world and the 45th most complex economy according to the Economic Complexity Index (ECI). In 2017, India exported $292B and imported $417B, resulting in a negative trade balance of $125B. In 2017 the GDP of India was $2.6T and its GDP per capita was $7.06k.
The top exports of India are Refined Petroleum ($30.2B), Diamonds ($26.5B), Packaged Medicaments ($13.2B), Jewellery ($8.66B) and Rice ($7.05B), using the 1992 revision of the HS (Harmonized System) classification. Its top imports are Crude Petroleum ($74.7B), Gold ($39B), Diamonds ($20.7B), Coal Briquettes ($19.4B) and Petroleum Gas ($12.2B).
The top export destinations of India are the United States ($44.3B), the United Arab Emirates ($28B), China ($14.8B), Hong Kong ($12.7B) and Germany ($9.9B).
The top import origins are China ($68.8B), the United States ($22.8B), the United Arab Emirates ($22.1B), Switzerland ($20.9B) and Saudi Arabia ($19.4B). India borders Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Burma, Nepal and Pakistan by land and Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Maldives and Thailand by sea.