India flag India: Economic and Political Overview

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 36.5% of the country's GDP. The country mainly exports petroleum oils (9.5%), medicaments (6%), diamonds (5.5%), rice (2.9%), and articles of jewellery (2.8%), while it imports petroleum oils (17.5%), gold (6%), diamonds (4.3%), coal and similar solid fuels (4.3%), petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons (4.1%). According to IMF Foreign Trade Forecasts, the volume of exports of goods and services increased by 6.7% in 2021 and is expected to remain stable at 6.1% in 2022, while the volume of imports of goods and services increased by 7.5% in 2021 and is expected to increase by 8.2% in 2022.

India's main partners are the United States, China, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Hong Kong, and Singapore. 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 signaled 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 eighth largest exporter and tenth largest importer of commercial services. However, India’s trade regime and regulatory environment still remains 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 country's trade deficit has been oscillating for the past few years. In 2020, India exported USD 279 billion worth of goods, while imports accounted for USD 372 billion, resulting in a negative trade balance of USD 95 billion. According to the WTO, in the same year, exports of services amounted to USD 202 billion, whereas the imports of services stood at USD 152 billion, leading to a decrease of the overall trade deficit, which amounted to USD 8.2 billion.

 
Foreign Trade Values 20172018201920202021
Imports of Goods (million USD) 449,925514,464486,059372,854572,909
Exports of Goods (million USD) 299,241324,778324,340276,302395,425
Imports of Services (million USD) 153,960174,925178,322152,860195,956
Exports of Services (million USD) 184,673204,323214,128202,600240,657

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

Foreign Trade Indicators 20162017201820192020
Foreign Trade (in % of GDP) 40.140.743.639.436.5
Trade Balance (million USD) -107,476-148,134-186,692-157,678-95,246
Trade Balance (Including Service) (million USD) -41,579-72,212-105,918-73,452-8,223
Imports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 4.417.48.6-0.8-17.6
Exports of Goods and Services (Annual % Change) 5.04.612.3-3.3-8.1
Imports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 20.922.023.721.018.4
Exports of Goods and Services (in % of GDP) 19.218.819.918.418.1

Source: World Bank ; Latest available data

Foreign Trade Forecasts 2022 (e)2023 (e)2024 (e)2025 (e)2026 (e)
Volume of exports of goods and services (Annual % change) 3.94.96.56.56.0
Volume of imports of goods and services (Annual % change) 10.17.26.97.57.2

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)
2021
United States 18.1%
United Arab Emirates 6.4%
China 5.8%
Bangladesh 3.6%
Hong Kong SAR, China 2.9%
See More Countries 63.2%
Main Suppliers
(% of Imports)
2021
China 15.3%
United Arab Emirates 7.6%
United States 7.3%
Switzerland 5.2%
Saudi Arabia 4.9%
See More Countries 59.8%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

 
 

Main Products

394.8 bn USD of products exported in 2021
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 13.7%
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) 6.3%
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) 4.3%
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%
RiceRice 2.4%
See More Products 70.6%
570.4 bn USD of products imported in 2021
Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous...Petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, crude 18.7%
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 9.8%
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) 4.6%
Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels...Coal; briquettes, ovoids and similar solid fuels manufactured from coal 4.5%
Petroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbonsPetroleum gas and other gaseous hydrocarbons 4.2%
See More Products 58.2%

Source: Comtrade, 2022. 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

204.5 bn USD of services exported in 2020
47.30%
24.20%
10.14%
6.37%
4.61%
1.80%
1.37%
1.36%
1.15%
1.07%
0.61%
112.6 bn USD of services imported in 2020
43.17%
17.46%
11.17%
8.54%
6.43%
3.45%
2.44%
2.31%
1.89%
1.70%
1.43%

Source: United Nations Statistics Division, 2022. Because of rounding, the sum of the percentages may be smaller/greater than 100%.

Return to top

Any Comment About This Content? Report It to Us.

 

© Export Entreprises SA, All Rights Reserved.
Latest Update: November 2022

Return to top