With central government-backed campaigns such as Make In India and AtmaNirbhar Bharat, India is keen to reduce its dependence on imports, boost local production of goods that cater to the country’s needs, and help increase export volume. Trade data shows an exponential increase in the import and export of India in the past few years, with significant markers hinting at the country’s self-reliance efforts.
For instance, India attained a record high of USD 417.81 billion in merchandise exports in the Financial Year (FY) 2021-2022. This figure includes data from only ports that support electronic data interchange. Therefore, the export value will be even higher if all ports across India are considered. The FY 2021-2022 figure is 43.18 percent more than the merchandise export value in the previous FY, which had touched USD 291.18 billion.
According to long-term forecasts, the expected value of Indian exports will be USD 1 trillion by 2030. The government is also hopeful that FY 2022-2023 will see exports worth USD 500 billion. This expectation stems from the increase in rupee-based trade and multiple bilateral free-trade agreements that India has signed with countries such as Australia, Bhutan, and Chile.
Meanwhile, India’s exports and imports data shows that FY 2021- 2022 witnessed a record high in imports of goods, touching USD 610.22 billion. The growth was 54.71% more compared to FY 2020-2021, when it had touched USD 394.44 billion.
India is also expected to become the fourth-largest importer in the world by 2030, as per a Global Trade Outlook report. It is currently at the 8th spot accounting for 2.8 percent of total global imports. This number is expected to grow to 3.9% by 2030.
Top imports and exports of India
Exports: The products that make up a significant volume of exports from India include engineering goods, petroleum products, pharmaceuticals, jewellery and gemstones, electronic goods, and organic chemicals.
Imports: India primarily imports crude oil, petroleum products, machinery, gold, electronics, electrical appliances, transportation tools, and semi-precious metals and stones. Among these, mineral fuels and oils top the list of India’s imports.
Factors behind the rise in trade
The exponential rise in imports and exports in India over the years can be attributed to the country’s significant improvements in infrastructure and trade-oriented policies. India has countries such as the United States of America, China and UAE as primary trading partners and nurtures strong bilateral trade relations with these nations.
The government of India has also released the National Logistics Policy to ensure that India climbs the charts in global exports. The policy aims to use technology, streamlined processes, and a skilled workforce to integrate different logistics channels. Apart from exports, the policy will also strengthen the logistics sector in the country and thus facilitate the seamless movement of goods across borders.
Additionally, the foreign trade policy [2015-20] lays down the current procedures for import and export in the country and sets the framework for establishing a trading company in India. The policy – extended till March 30, 2023 – includes features such as reviews of import-export documents, payment of taxes, verification of licence, an inspection of products, among others.
The current state of imports and exports in India looks promising thanks to new policies and robust procedures that aim to place India in a distinguished position on the list of global exporters. With government-driven policies, the focus is on improving investments, enhancing skill development, and achieving state-of-the-art manufacturing infrastructure that allows India to be self-reliant while consistently overshooting export targets.