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General Overview

Foreign trade has played a crucial role in India's economy growth. The composition and direction of India's foreign trade has undergone substantial changes, particularly, after the liberalization process which began in the early 1990s. Our major exports now includes manufacturing goods such as Engineering Goods, Petroleum Products, Chemicals & Related Products, Gems & Jewellery, Textiles, Electronic Goods, etc. which constitute over 80 per cent of our export basket. On the other hand, major import items constitute capital goods and intermediates which not only support the manufacturing sector but also supply raw-materials for the export oriented units. Over the years, India's trade with countries of Asia & ASEAN and Africa has gone up substantially. Apart from that, India is now a major player in global trading system and all the major sectors of Indian economy are linked to world outside either directly or indirectly through international trade.

(P) Provisional data

Total Trade Of Exports And Imports Over The Years In Crore Rupees
Year Exports Imports Total Trade Trade Deficit
1990-91 32558 43193 75751 -10635
1991-92 44042 47851 91893 -3809
1992-93 53688 63375 117063 -9687
1993-94 69751 73101 142852 -3350
1994-95 82674 89971 172645 -7297
1995-96 106353 122678 229031 -16325
1996-97 118817 138920 257737 -20103
1997-98 130101 154176 284277 -24075
1998-99 139753 178332 318085 -38579
1999-2000 159561 215236 374797 -55675
2000-01 209018 230873 434444 -27302
2001-02 255137 245200 454218 -36182
2002-03 293367 297206 552343 -42069
2003-04 375340 359108 652475 -65741
2004-05 375340 501065 876405 -125725
2005-06 456483 635013 1091496 -178530
2006-07 571779 840506 1412286 -268727
2007-08 655864 1012312 1668176 -356448
2008-09(P) 766935 1385503 2072338 -538568

Trade Scenario

India's total external trade (exports plus imports including re-exports) in the year 1990-91 stood at Rs.91,893 crore. Since then, this has witnessed continuous increase with occasional downturns. During 2008-09 the value of India's external trade reached Rs.20,72,438 crore. A statement indicating India's total export, import, total value of foreign trade and balance of trade from the year 1991-92 to 2008-09, in rupee terms, is given in table above.

India's exports during 2008-09 reached a level of Rs.7,66,935 crore registering a growth of 16.9 per cent. In US $ terms, exports reached a level of US$168.7 billion, registering a growth of 3.5 per cent as compared to a growth of 29.1 per cent during the previous year. The growth of exports during the year has exhibited a significant slow-down from September 2008 onwards. While, during the first half of the year 2008-09, April-September, exports increased by 31.3 per cent with almost all the major commodity groups, except increased by 31.3 per cent with almost all the major commodity groups, except marine products, handicrafts and carpets, recording significant growth. In the second half of the year 2008-09, October-March, exports recorded a decline of (-) 19.2 per cent with almost all the commodity groups recording significant negative growth.

During 2008-09 imports increased to Rs.13,05,503 from the level of Rs.10,12,312 crore in 2007-08 registering growth of 29.0 per cent in rupee terms. In US $ terms, imports reached a level of US $ 287.8 billion in 2008-09 registering a growth of 14.4 per cent. Oil imports were valued at US $ 93.2 billion, which was higher by 16.9 per cent over the previous year. Non-Oil imports increased to US $ 194.6 billion, which was higher by 13.2 per cent. Items which registered significant growth are Pearl, Precious & Semi-Precious Stones, Crude & Manufactured Fertilizer, Coal, Inorganic Chemicals, Project Goods, etc. Import of Gold and Transport Equipment registered significant decline.

The Trade deficit during 2008-09 increased to Rs.(-) 538568 crore as against Rs.(-) 356449 crore during 2007-08. In US $ terms, trade deficit increased to US & 119.1 billion from a level of US & 88.5 billion during 2007-08.

India has trading relations with all the major trading blocks and geographical regions of the world. Region and sub region-wise spread of India's during 2007-08 and 2008-09 as per data available up to 2008-09 (April-February) is given in table 7.2. During the period 2008-09 (April-February), the share of Asia and ASEAN region comprising South Asia, East Asia, Mid-Eastern and Gulf countries accounted for 51.4 per cent of India's total exports. The share of Europe and America in India's exports stood at 23.8 per cent and 16.5 per cent respectively of which EU countries (27) comprises 22.3 per cent. During the period, USA (12.0 per cent), has been the most important country of export destination following by United Arab Emirates (10.8 per cent), China (5.1 per cent), Singapore (4.7 per cent), Netherlands (3.7 per cent), Hong Kong (3.7 per cent), U.K. (3.6 per cent), Germany (3.4 per cent), Saudi Arabia (3.0 per cent), Belgium (2.6 per cent) and Italy (2.2 per cent).

Asia and ASEAN accounted for 61.7 per cent of India's total imports during the period followed by Europe (18.7 per cent) and America (10.1 per cent). Among individual countries the share of China stood highest at (10.7 per cent) followed by Saudi Arabia (7.1 per cent), UAE (6.4 per cent) and USA (6.0 per cent), Iran (4.3 percent), Switzerland (4.2 per cent), Germany (3.6 per cent), Kuwait (3.4 per cent), Nigeria (3.2 per cent), and Iraq (2.8 per cent).

(P) Provisional Figures

External Trade With Other Countries During 2007-08 and 2008-09
Region Exports (April-Feb) Imports (April-Feb)
2007-08 2008-09(P) 2007-08(P) 2008-09(P)
1. Europe 1,33,151 1,65,925 1,75,335 2,23,813
  1.1 EU countries 27 1,23,219 1,55,266 1,27,315 1,61,593
  1.2 Other WE countries 9,553 10,123 47,881 62,115
  1.3 East Europe 379 536 138 106
2. Africa 38,062 44,922 51,519 60,151
  2.1 Southern Africa 13,058 12,393 17,868 29,377
  2.2 West Africa 12,851 13,204 35,614 48,514
  2.3 Central Africa 934 1,372 189 632
  2.4 East Africa 15,126 18,687 1,158 1,158
3. America 98,900 1,14,966 79,780 1,21,381
  3.1 North America 79,880 89,476 56,281 80,825
  3.2 Latin America 10,019 45,490 23,498 40,556
4. Asia and Asean 2,96,287 3,57,982 5,43,551 7,39,622
  4.1 East Asia 5,070 6,719 30,783 40,230
  4.2 ASEAN 56,663 75,357 82,289 1,06,418
  4.3 WANA 1,08,920 1,44,039 2,58,645 3,56,716
  4.4 NE Asia 92,974 96,846 1,64,030 2,28,746
  4.5 South Asia 32,659 35,020 7,805 7,513
5. CIS & Baltics 6,101 7,623 14,238 28,793
  5.1 CARs Countries 826 1,047 419 1,157
  5.2 Other CIS Countries 5,275 6,577 13,818 27,636
6. Unspecified Region 1,482 4,346 2,666 4,710
Total 5,77,889 6,96,498 8,70,399 11,98,360

Source: National Portal Content Management Team, Reviewed on: 11-01-2011