Even as trade war begins between two countries, the US has pipped China to become India’s top goods trade partner in FY19, the official data showed. In FY18, China was India’s largest trade partner. It comes at a time when India has increased tariffs on 28 items exported from the US in retaliation to America’s withdrawal of preferential access for Indian products from 5 June. The US is already engrossed in a trade war with China over the past few months now.
The commerce ministry data also showed that India’s trade deficit with China has dropped to $53 billion in the fiscal under review, down from $63 billion the prior year. The total trade with the US stood at $87,956.24 million, while the figure was recorded at $87,069.14 million with China, it added.
The other top ten trading partners on the list include the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Germany , Republic of Korea and Indonesia. Meanwhile, the duties imposed by India on the export items from the US were in retaliation to its decision to significantly hike customs duties on certain steel and aluminium products. Among the targeted imports, duty on walnut has been hiked from 30 per cent to 120 per cent. Similarly, the duty on chickpeas, Bengal gram (chana) and masur dal has been increased from 30 per cent to 70 per cent.
The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had recently said that America is open to have a dialogue with India so as to resolve differences in trade with India. It also asked for greater access for American companies to the Indian markets. According to the US Department of Agriculture data, India is the largest buyer of US almonds, paying $543 million for more than half of US almond exports in 2018. It is the second largest buyer of the American apples, taking $156 million worth in 2018.