India’s Top 10 Exports

India's Top 10 Exports


Strategically located near highly populated trading partners including China, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the Republic of India shipped US$295.8 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2017. That dollar amount represents a -12.1% drop since 2013 but a 13.6% increase from 2016 to 2017.

From January to September 2018, India’s exported goods were valued at $241.7 billion. This 9-month metric puts Indian exports on track for an annualized $322.3 billion estimated for all 2018 and a projected 9% year-over-year gain.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, India’s exported goods plus services represent 18.4% of total Indian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, half (50.5%) of Indian exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries. Another 18.7% was sold to European importers while 17.6% went to North America. India shipped smaller percentages to Africa (8%) and Latin America excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean (2.8%).

Given India’s population of 1.282 billion people, its total $295.8 billion in 2017 exports translates to roughly $230 for every resident in the vast South Asian country.

India’s unemployment rate was expected to be 3.5% as of September 2018, according to Trading Economics calculations.

India’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Indian global shipments during 2017. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from India.

  1. Gems, precious metals: US$42.6 billion (14.4% of total exports)
  2. Mineral fuels including oil: $35.9 billion (12.1%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $16.7 billion (5.6%)
  4. Vehicles: $16.2 billion (5.5%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $13.6 billion (4.6%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $12.9 billion (4.4%)
  7. Iron, steel: $11.7 billion (4%)
  8. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $9 billion (3%)
  9. Electrical machinery, equipment: $8.8 billion (3%)
  10. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $8.3 billion (2.8%)

Note that the results listed above are at the categorized two-digit Harmonized Tariff System (HTS) code level. For a more granular view of exported goods at the four-digit HTS code level, see the section Searchable List of India’s Most Valuable Export Products further down near the bottom of this article.

India’s top 10 exports accounted for 59.4% of the overall value of its global shipments.

Iron and steel was the fastest growing among the top 10 export categories up 81.8% from 2016 to 2017.

In second place for improving Indian export sales were mineral fuels including oil which gained 29.5%, led by refined petroleum oils.

Indian machinery including computers posted the third-fastest gain in value up 22.8%, trailed by the 20.6% improvement for exported organic chemicals.

There were two declining top categories: pharmaceuticals via its -1.1% drop and unknit and non-crocheted clothing or accessories, the latter decelerating by -0.7%.


The following types of Indian product shipments represent positive net exports or a trade balance surplus. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports.

In a nutshell, net exports is the amount by which foreign spending on a home country’s goods or services exceeds or lags the home country’s spending on foreign goods or services.

  1. Pharmaceuticals: US$11.1 billion (Down by -2.3% since 2016)
  2. Vehicles: $10.7 billion (Up by 4.9%)
  3. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $8.6 billion (Down by -1.2%)
  4. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $8 billion (Up by 5%)
  5. Fish: $6.6 billion (Up by 28%)
  6. Cereals: $6.1 billion (Up by 19.5%)
  7. Cotton: $5.7 billion (Up by 10.5%)
  8. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $4.5 billion (Up by 10.2%)
  9. Meat: $4.3 billion (Up by 8.5%)
  10. Articles of iron or steel: $2.9 billion (Up by 27.2%)

India has highly positive net exports in the international trade of drugs and medicines. In turn, these cashflows indicate India’s strong competitive advantages under the pharmaceuticals product category.


Overall India incurred a -$148.2 billion trade deficit for all products during 2017, up 53.8% from its -$96.4 billion in red ink one year earlier in 2016.

Below are exports from India that result in negative net exports or product trade balance deficits. These negative net exports reveal product categories where foreign spending on home country India’s goods trail Indian importer spending on foreign products.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: -US$87.1 billion (Up by 41.5% since 2016)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$38.1 billion (Up by 32.2%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: -$31.8 billion (Up by 444.5%)
  4. Machinery including computers: -$19.3 billion (Up by 2.1%)
  5. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$10.7 billion (Up by 10.6%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: -$7.1 billion (Up by 14.9%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$5.6 billion (Up by 21.1%)
  8. Organic chemicals: -$4.4 billion (Up by 25.2%)
  9. Fertilizers: -$4.2 billion (Down by -7.3%)
  10. Inorganic chemicals: -$4 billion (Up by 11.2%)

India has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels especially crude oil, coal and petroleum gases.

These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate India’s competitive disadvantages in the international mineral fuels-related market, but also represent key opportunities for India to improve its position in the global economy through focused innovations.


Major Indian Export Companies

India placed 54 corporations on the Forbes Global 2000 rankings. Many of these are major Indian export companies. Below is a selection of some of the biggest Indian corporations.

  • Reliance Industries (oil, gas)
  • Tata Motors (cars, trucks)
  • Indian Oil (oil, gas)
  • Coal India (diversified metals, mining)
  • ITC (tobacco)
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals (electrical equipment)
  • Hindalco Industries (aluminum)
  • Tata Steel (iron, steel)
  • Bharat Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • Hindustan Petroleum (oil, gas)
  • Sun Pharma Industries (pharmaceuticals)
  • Steel Authority of India (iron, steel)
  • Bajaj Auto (recreational products)
  • Hero Motocorp (recreational products)
  • Grasim Industries (construction materials)
  • JSW Steel (iron, steel)


Searchable List of India’s Most Valuable Export Products

At the more granular four-digit HTS code level, India’s top export products are refined petroleum oils followed by diamonds then jewelry.

The following searchable table displays 200 of the most in-demand goods shipped from India during 2017. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2016.

RankIndian Export Product2017 Value (US$)Change
1Processed petroleum oils$34.9 billion+29.4%
2Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$24.7 billion+2.6%
3Jewelry$12.8 billion+1.8%
4Medication mixes in dosage$11.5 billion-0.6%
5Rice$7.1 billion+33.2%
6Cars$6.6 billion+3.6%
7Crustaceans (including lobsters)$4.8 billion+32.6%
8Automobile parts/accessories$4.4 billion+10.5%
9Frozen beef$3.9 billion+7%
10Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$3.4 billion+83%
11Yarn (85%+ cotton)$3.4 billion+7%
12T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$2.7 billion-1.7%
13Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$2.7 billion+231.8%
14Aluminum (unwrought)$2.5 billion+52.2%
15Refined copper, unwrought alloys$2.5 billion+64%
16Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$2.4 billion+18%
17Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$2.4 billion-2%
18Cyclic hydrocarbons$2.3 billion+102%
19Gold (unwrought)$2.2 billion-48.1%
20Iron ferroalloys$2.2 billion+93.7%
21Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$2.2 billion+23.6%
22Aircraft parts$2.2 billion+11.9%
23Synthetic organic coloring$2.1 billion+12.6%
24Motorcycles$1.9 billion+18.6%
25Footwear (leather)$1.9 billion-1.7%
26Turbo-jets$1.8 billion+193.8%
27Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)$1.7 billion+23.4%
28Rubber tires (new)$1.7 billion+18.3%
29Iron ores, concentrates$1.6 billion+63.5%
30Flat-rolled iron/non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$1.6 billion+23.9%
31Miscellaneous furnishings$1.6 billion+6.6%
32Linens$1.5 billion+3.3%
33Coins$1.4 billion+27,941%
34Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.4 billion+1.4%
35Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.3 billion+4.3%
36Cases, handbags, wallets$1.3 billion+5.7%
37Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)$1.3 billion+11.8%
38Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.3 billion+13%
39Electrical converters/power units$1.2 billion+0.9%
40Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.2 billion+31.8%
41Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$1.2 billion-4.6%
42Synthetic filament yarn$1.1 billion+17.3%
43Iron/non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)$1.1 billion+105.6%
44Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.1 billion+17.8%
45Other organic compounds$1.1 billion-6.8%
46Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews$1 billion+25.2%
47Mobile phones, other phone system devices $1 billion+4.7%
48Woven cotton fabrics$990.1 million+2.5%
49Monument/building stones, art$977.7 million-2.7%
50Piston engine parts$977.3 million+4.8%
51Sugar (cane or beet)$963.5 million-33.5%
52Fixed vegetable fats/oils$956.3 million+49.2%
53Miscellaneous cast iron or steel items$954.5 million+8.4%
54Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$931.5 million+15.1%
55Trucks$930.9 million+20.8%
56Vegetable saps, extracts$914.9 million+20.8%
57Synthetic yarn woven fabrics$909.6 million+3.3%
58Tractors$909.1 million-1.3%
59Liquid pumps and elevators$904.3 million+25.5%
60Infant clothing (knit or crochet)$899.5 million+8.3%
61Pepper (dried/crushed/ground)$896 million+6.2%
62Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$883.4 million+64.8%
63Leather clothing, accessories$876.9 million-1.2%
64Zinc (unwrought)$876.6 million+113.5%
65Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$842.6 million+27.8%
66Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$836.3 million+173.9%
67Antibiotics$833.8 million+2.9%
68Piston engines$823.4 million+40.6%
69Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$822.7 million+17.3%
70Insulated wire/cable$818.2 million+11.3%
71Monument/building stone including granite$812.5 million+20.6%
72Moluscs$811.5 million+20.3%
73Essential oils$786.3 million+29.4%
74Tea (including flavored)$769 million+16.2%
75Blood fractions (including antisera)$749.7 million-5.2%
76Men's shirts (knit or crochet)$745.6 million+1.9%
77Packing sacks, bags$739.8 million+22.8%
78Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$739.7 million-0.7%
79Air or vacuum pumps$736 million+9.9%
80Whole fish (frozen)$735.2 million+16.8%
81Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$716.3 million+10.3%
82Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$714.9 million+31.9%
83Unglazed ceramic flags, tiles$698.1 million+283.9%
84Unroasted ground-nuts$671.9 million-6.8%
85Iron and steel tubes, pipes$665.9 million+25.8%
86Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)$665.3 million+26.7%
87Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns$659.2 million+14.6%
88Miscellaneous furniture$656.9 million+6.3%
89Miscellaneous machinery$655.3 million+21.9%
90Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$653.9 million+5.7%
91Coffee$639.6 million+16.3%
92Lower-voltage switches, fuses$625.4 million+9.6%
93Miscellaneous plastic items$615.2 million-6.3%
94Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste$612.3 million-8.8%
95Stainless steel bars, rods$611.7 million+24.1%
96Shawls, scarves$605.5 million-18.1%
97Temperature-change machines$590.1 million+5.2%
98Miscellaneous garments (knit or crochet)$585.4 million-1.8%
99Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$585.2 million+23.4%
100Other animal leather$567.1 million-1.5%
101Flat-rolled stainless steel items$565 million+38.6%
102Yarn (synthetics staple fibers)$562.6 million+10.8%
103Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$554.6 million-0.7%
104Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$554.3 million-3.7%
105Woven fabrics (< 85% synthetic staple fibers)$546.7 million-5.4%
106Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$545.1 million+4%
107Machinery parts$542.9 million+1.1%
108Engines (diesel)$538.8 million+23.7%
109Saturated acyclic mono acids$529.3 million+6.6%
110Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$527.5 million+17.3%
111Iron and steel tables, household items$525.6 million-1%
112Tugboats, pusher craft$525.5 million-35.5%
113Ball, roller bearings$518.2 million+33.3%
114Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators)$515.5 million+44.4%
115Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$514.6 million+22.7%
116Propylene/olefin polymers$510.7 million-13.2%
117Iron or steel pipe fittings$509.5 million+17.1%
118Woven carpets, other textile floor coverings$501.4 million+8.8%
119Amino-compounds (oxygen)$495.5 million+15.9%
120Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$488 million+6.3%
121Ethylene polymers$485.5 million+115.7%
122Miscellaneous copper items$482.5 million-1.9%
123Miscellaneous heterocyclics$476.5 million+4.9%
124Oil seeds$472.7 million+5.2%
125Chassis fitted with engine$465.6 million-8.9%
126Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$463.2 million+3%
127Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$462.9 million+3.6%
128Electric motors, generators$454.7 million+13.6%
129Coriander/cumin/caraway seeds, juniper berries$449.1 million+16.8%
130Onions, garlic, leeks, shallots$447.9 million+11.4%
131Amine-function compounds$443.9 million+12.4%
132Precious metal waste, scrap$443.2 million+11%
133Motorcycle parts/accessories$434.6 million+11.8%
134Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton)$434.6 million+1.3%
135Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$422.9 million+20%
136Mattresses, quilts$411.6 million+5.3%
137Vulcanized rubber items$408 million+13%
138Spices including ginger, saffron, thyme$391.3 million-3.2%
139Sort/screen/washing machinery$389 million+26.1%
140Knotted carpets, other textile floor coverings$384.4 million-7.6%
141Polycarboxylic acids$381.9 million+13.2%
142Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates$380.2 million+12.6%
143Lead (unwrought)$362.9 million+127.6%
144Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$355.5 million+40.1%
145Insoles, heel cushions$350.1 million+15.6%
146Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$341.7 million+0.9%
147Cyclic alcohols$341.1 million+29.6%
148Miscellaneous aluminum items$339.1 million+5%
149Other organic cleaning preparations$329.5 million+11.4%
150Medication mixes not in dosage$328.3 million-6.8%
151Ethers$325 million+42.9%
152Iron or non-alloy steel bars, rods$321.7 million+304.2%
153Ketones, quinones$320.9 million+8.5%
154Carboxyamid/amide-function compounds$316.3 million+13.9%
155Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$316.2 million+10.4%
156Artificial staple fibers$310 million+4.4%
157Woven carpets, other textile floor coverings$309.1 million+3.5%
158Footwear (rubber or plastic)$306.8 million+3.5%
159Grapes (fresh or dried)$305.4 million+15.7%
160Warships, lifeboats$303.8 million+111.8%
161Electric generating sets, converters$302.4 million-1.7%
162Uncoated paper for writing/printing$300 million+3.9%
163Cruise/cargo ships, barges$299 million-21.5%
164Gas/liquid/electricity/production meters$297.6 million+68.1%
165Electric ignition/start equipment$294.7 million+19.3%
166Petroleum oil residues$294.4 million+30.3%
167Medicinal plants$292 million+12.6%
168Synthetic staple fibers$288.6 million+12.1%
169Carbon electrodes, brushes$288.5 million+115.3%
170Miscellaneous/adhesive paper$282.7 million+5.8%
171Carboxylic acids$282.2 million+3%
172Baby clothing, accessories$281.5 million+7.7%
173Acyclic alcohols$281.5 million+3.5%
174Rubber/plastic article making machines$280.8 million+14.1%
175Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$280.3 million+21%
176Public-transport vehicles$276.6 million+31.5%
177Chemical industry products/residuals$274.9 million+17.8%
178Hydraulic cements$271.6 million+1.7%
179Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$268.6 million+68.8%
180Iron or steel tubes, pipes$268 million+10.6%
181Electric storage batteries$264 million+22%
182Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$262.3 million+4%
183Stainless steel wire$262 million+28.4%
184Refrigerators, freezers$260 million-3.5%
185Electric motor parts$259.3 million+14.8%
186Footwear (textile)$259 million+5.1%
187Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$259 million+16.7%
188Textile embroidery$257.5 million+3.8%
189Acyclic hydrocarbons$253.8 million+102.1%
190Regulate/control instruments$251.5 million-11.1%
191Coconut/abaca Manila hemp$248.3 million+9.4%
192Other food preparations$245.1 million+13.7%
193Textile fiber work machines$242.7 million+35.5%
194Base metal mountings, fittings$242.5 million+8.2%
195Computer parts, accessories$240 million-8%
196Hydrocarbon derivatives$238 million+42%
197Unrecorded sound media$236 million-28.9%
198Human hair, wool$234.2 million-1.1%
199Other than warp-knit fabrics$232.8 million+22.3%
200Interchangeable hand/machine tools$232.8 million+3.9%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$254.3 billion or 86% by value for all products exported from India during 2017.

See also India’s Top 10 Imports, India’s Top Trading Partners, Top Indian Trade Balances and India’s Top 10 Major Export Companies

Research Sources:
International Monetary Fund, World Economic Outlook Database (GDP based on Purchasing Power Parity). Accessed on July 30, 2018

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on July 30, 2018

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on December 31, 2018

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on July 30, 2018

Wikipedia, List of Companies of India. Accessed on July 30, 2018

Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 4, 2016