India’s trade deficit with China just fell for the first time in years — but there could be a catch

Reuters
  • India managed to reduce its trade deficit with China by $10 billion to $53 billion in 2018-19, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.
  • In addition to dramatically increasing exports of cotton textiles, India imported less electronic items as the value of the rupee fell over the course of last year.
  • However, there might be another reason why the trade deficit fell so convincingly. China might be routing its exports through Hong Kong to understate the extent of its trade surplus.
India managed to reduce its trade deficit with China, or the cumulative difference between imports and exports, by $10 billion to $53 billion in 2018-19, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce.

This was largely due to the fact that India capitalised on China’s trade tensions with the US to boost its exports to the Middle Kingdom - which rose by 31% to $17 billion while reducing its imports.

In addition to dramatically increasing exports of cotton textiles, India imported less electronic items as the value of the rupee fell over the course of last year.

India’s Commerce Minister, Suresh Prabhu, attributed the reduction to continued engagement with China and export promotion.


This marks quite a turnaround. India’s trade deficit with its third-largest trading partner has been gradually increasing since 2013-14.



In 2017-18, India’s trade deficit with China ballooned to a record $63 billion - a gap that was considered “untenable”. In response, India signed a number of export deals and lobbied China to reduce trade barriers.

However, there might be another reason why the trade deficit fell so convincingly. As global pressure increases on China to correct its trade imbalance with trading partners like India, China might be routing its exports through Hong Kong to understate the extent of its trade surplus, according to Mint.

In fact, it seems that India’s imports from Hong Kong increased considerably over the course of 2018 - from $11.1 billion to $16 billion - and these products are reported to be the same ones that India used to import from China such as mobile phone components.


SEE ALSO:

Indians are buying less gold and electronics— and that's helping the economy

India should be worried as this may be the worst quarter for global trade in ten years

Many Indians want to shun Chinese goods -- here’s why that doesn’t make sense
{{}}
Subscribe to whatsappSubscribe to whatsapp
Add Comment()
Comments ()
X
Sort By:
Be the first one to comment.
We have sent you a verification email. This comment will be published once verification is done.