India’s imports from China reach record high in 2022, trade deficit surges beyond $100 billion


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India’s bilateral trade with China reached a record $135.98 billion in 2022, Chinese Customs data showed on January 13, 2023, driven by surging Indian imports of Chinese goods that were up by more than 21% last year.

India’s exports to China, however, fell in 2022, driving an already significant trade deficit beyond the $100 billion-mark for the first time.

Figures released by the General Administration of Customs (GAC) in Beijing on January 13, 2023 showed two-way trade was up by 8.4% last year to $135.98 billion, with India’s imports accounting for $118.5 billion, up from $97.5 billion.

India’s exports to China fell from $28.1 billion to $17.48 billion. The trade deficit reached $101.02 billion, up by 45%, from $69.4 billion in 2021.

China’s total foreign trade in 2022 hit a record high, up 7.7% to $6.25 trillion. Exports were up 10.5%. Trade with ASEAN, China’s biggest trading partner, increased 11.2% to $975.34 billion. The EU ranked second among China’s trading partners, with trade up 2.4% to $847.32 billion, followed by the U.S., with trade up 0.6% to $759.42 billion.

For India, trade last year has surpassed what was a record year in 2021, on account of a recovery in demand in India, increasing imports of intermediate goods, and imports of new categories of goods such as medical supplies.

Analysts have seen India’s growing imports from China as both a worry, reflecting continued dependence for a range of key goods, but also, to some extent, as a positive indicator of the Indian economy importing more intermediate goods.

The break-up of imports in 2022 wasn’t immediately released. In the past couple of years, India’s biggest imports from China included active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), chemicals, electrical and mechanical machinery, auto components, and medical supplies.



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