India’s trade with China has declined in the first half of 2023 after more than two years of record growth. Image used for representation purpose only. File
| Photo Credit: K.K. Mustafah
India’s trade with China declined in the first half of 2023 after more than two years of record growth, part of a broader slump in China’s trade performance that has underlined a sharp slowdown in the world’s second-largest economy
Two-way trade reached $66.02 billion in the first half, data from China’s General Administration of Customs (GAC) showed on Thursday. India’s imports from China slid 0.9% to $56.53 billion, while exports to its northern neighbour fell by 0.6% to $9.49 billion.
India’s imports of Chinese goods were $57.51 billion in the first half of 2022.
However, India’s trade deficit — the largest it has with any country — did not narrow substantially because exports to China also declined due to weak demand. The January-June trade stood at $47.04 billion, marginally narrower than H1 2022’s $47.94 billion.
China’s overall H1 exports declined by 12.4%, a drop that exceeded most economists’ expectations. The trade slump is expected to reinforce concerns that China’s brief recovery, after emerging in January from three months of harsh COVID-19 curbs, is already running out of steam.
India’s trade with China in 2023 may see a rare decline after years of breakneck growth, with the first year of the pandemic being an exception. Trade rebounded to historic highs in 2021 and 2022. In 2022, trade reached a record $135.98 billion, driven by a 21% rise in imports into India. The trade deficit crossed $100 billion for the first time last year. India’s biggest imports from China have included active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs), chemicals, machinery, auto components, and medical supplies.