After years of decline, Indian exports to China rose sharply in the first four months of this year registering a 20 per cent increase to $5.57 billion, though the trade deficit continued to persist. Indian exports received a major boost mainly due to China increasing the steel consumption by importing big quantity of iron ore as well as gems and diamonds besides cotton materials.
The India-China trade grew by six per cent to $26.02 billion from January to April this year, according to the data of China’s customs accessed by PTI here. As per the data, the Indian exports have gone up to $5.57 billion, registering a 20 per cent increase.China’s exports to India too amounted to $20.45 billion, a 14 per cent raise.
The trade deficit problem for India, however, continued. The trade deficit in the first four months amounted to $ 14.88 billion in favour of China.Last year, the deficit aggregated to around $52 billion in a little over $70 billion total bilateral trade becoming a thorny issue between the two countries.But the spurt in Indian exports to China this year showed promise of recovery, the first since iron ore exports started declining in 2013 due domestic crackdown on mines as well as China scaling down its steel production due to global economic crisis.
The trade deficit began expanding ever since the iron ore exports, the main stay of Indian exports started declining.The iron ore exports from India to China in the first four months totalled to $1.04 billion jumped by about 45 per cent. Also, Indian exports of iron and steel rose by $218 million almost 300 per cent. Indian diamond, gems and precious stones exports also contributed to the rise.In the first quarter this year, Indian exports of diamonds and gems and stones amounted to $558 million. India had 33.8 per cent market.
Last year India’s exports of diamonds, stones and gems to China grew by 28.48 per cent to touch $2.48 billion with India emerging as top two exporters in the burgeoning Chinese market after South Africa.Officials say there is a huge scope for Indian exports in this field as China’s total volume of imports in 2016 was $15.816 billion. In 2015 China has imported $17.974 billion worth of diamond and precious stones.
Indian exports of cotton and yarn in the first four months rose to $600 million a 40 per cent increase.Chinese exports to India also rose by 14 per cent during this period and the bilateral trade grew by six percent.Indian business and trade circles associated with the bilateral trade, however, advised caution saying that base of Indian exports continued to be small and it is to be seen whether the increase is sustainable in the long run.
But at the same there was hope of major increase as China has announced liberalisation of pharmaceutical imports.
India has been pressing China to open up its pharmaceutical and IT software sectors to expand the base of Indian exports. So far, no major breakthrough have been made in both the areas, despite promises by China.