India hits record $77 bn trade deficit with China in FY22

DHARAMSALA, 25 April: India’s trade deficit with China hit a record $77 billion in the Fiscal Year 2022, The Print reported after carefully examining the data acquired from China’s General Administration of Customs (GACC).

“India’s trade deficit with the neighbouring country hit a record $77 billion from April 2021 to March 2022,” the report said citing the GACC data.

The development, the report said came “despite the Modi government’s ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ push and attempts to reduce the nation’s dependence on goods manufactured in China.”

According to the report, India’s exports to China stood at $26.46 billion while its imports from China stood at $103.47.

While the GACC has included data for the month of March, data provided by the Indian commerce ministry up to Feb has estimated that the trade deficit so far stands at approximately $65.34 billion from April 2021 to February 2022, the report added.

The deficit of $65.34 billion “is still far higher than what was recorded in previous years,” the report said citing the commerce ministry data,– which estimated a trade deficit of $53.57 billion in 2018-19, $48.65 billion in 2019-20 and $44.02 billion in 2020-21.

The trade deficit breached the $60 billion mark last time in 2017-2018 at $63 billion.

Biswajit Dhar, trade economist and professor, Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, School of Social Sciences, JNU, has identified three main reasons behind India’s widening trade deficit with China.

He argues that China’s economy not suffering the full economic impact of the pandemic, it’s less dependent on the international market and the kinds of commodities it imports versus exports played a significant role in the trade deficit between the two Asian giants.  

In March 2021, India’s Foreign Secretary called for a reset in the bilateral trade with China.

“The current bilateral trade with China at $78 billion is heavily tilted in the latter’s favour and that will need a reset,” media reports quoted India’s Foreign Secretary H.V. Shringla as saying at the penultimate panel discussion titled ‘India as Global Partner’ at the fifth Asia Economic Dialogue (AED) 2021.

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