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$323.1 billion worth of goods around the globe in 2018. That dollar amount reflects a 1.7% improvement since 2014 and a 9.2% gain from 2017 to 2018.

Based on estimates from the Central Intelligence Agency’s World Factbook, India’s exported goods plus services represent 19.1% of total Indian economic output or Gross Domestic Product. That metric includes re-exports. The analysis below focuses on exported products only.

From a continental perspective, almost half (49.3%) of Indian exports by value were delivered to fellow Asian countries. Another 19.3% was sold to European importers while 18% went to North America. Smaller percentages went to Africa (8.3%), Latin America (2.9%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean, then Oceania (1.3%) led by Australia.

Given India’s population of 1.297 billion people, its total $323.1 billion in 2018 exports translates to roughly $250 for every resident in the vast South Asian country.

India’s unemployment rate was 6.1% for 2018, according to Trading Economics.

India’s Top 10 Exports

Top 10

The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Indian global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from India.

  1. Mineral fuels including oil: US$48.3 billion (14.9% of total exports)
  2. Gems, precious metals: $40.1 billion (12.4%)
  3. Machinery including computers: $20.4 billion (6.3%)
  4. Vehicles: $18.2 billion (5.6%)
  5. Organic chemicals: $17.7 billion (5.5%)
  6. Pharmaceuticals: $14.3 billion (4.4%)
  7. Electrical machinery, equipment: $11.8 billion (3.6%)
  8. Iron, steel: $10 billion (3.1%)
  9. Cotton: $8.1 billion (2.5%)
  10. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $8.1 billion (2.5%)

India’s top 10 exports accounted for just over three-fifths (61%) of the overall value of its global shipments.

Mineral fuels including oil was the fastest growing among the top 10 export categories, up 34.5% from 2017 to 2017. Notably, exports of Indian refined petroleum oils and electrical energy were behind this acceleration.

Close behind in second place for improving Indian export sales was electrical machinery and equipment which gained 33.9%.

India’s shipments of organic chemicals recorded the third-fastest gain in value up 30.7% year over year, ahead of the 22.5% sales expansion for the machinery including computers category.

There were three declining top categories for Indian exports: iron and steel via its -14.7% drop, clothing and accessories (down -9.6%) then gems and precious metals (down -5.8%) mainly due to India’s plummeting international sales of gold.

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.


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$12.2 billion (Up by 10.2% since 2017)
  2. Vehicles: $12 billion (Up by 12%)
  3. Cereals: $7.7 billion (Up by 27.3%)
  4. Clothing, accessories (not knit or crochet): $7.5 billion (Down by -12.7%)
  5. Cotton: $7.3 billion (Up by 27%)
  6. Knit or crochet clothing, accessories: $7.1 billion (Down by -11.4%)
  7. Fish: $6.3 billion (Down by -5.1%)
  8. Miscellaneous textiles, worn clothing: $4.7 billion (Up by 4.4%)
  9. Meat: $3.7 billion (Down by -13.6%)
  10. Coffee, tea, spices: $2.4 billion (Down by -5.6%)

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 -$184.5 billion trade deficit for all products during 2018, swelling 24.5% from its -$148.2 billion in red ink one year earlier.

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$120.3 billion (Up by 38.1% since 2017)
  2. Electrical machinery, equipment: -$40.6 billion (Up by 6.7%)
  3. Gems, precious metals: -$24.9 billion (Down by -21.6%)
  4. Machinery including computers: -$22.8 billion (Up by 18%)
  5. Animal/vegetable fats, oils, waxes: -$9 billion (Down by -15.3%)
  6. Plastics, plastic articles: -$7.3 billion (Up by 3.5%)
  7. Optical, technical, medical apparatus: -$6.3 billion (Up by 12.5%)
  8. Fertilizers: -$5.8 billion (Up by 38.1%)
  9. Inorganic chemicals: -$5.2 billion (Up by 31.5%)
  10. Organic chemicals: -$4.8 billion (Up by 9.9%)

India has highly negative net exports and therefore deep international trade deficits for mineral fuels, particularly 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 for pertinent goods.


Major Indian Export Companies

India places over 50 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 2018. Shown beside each product label is its total export value then the percentage increase or decrease since 2017.

RankIndia's Export Product2018 Value (US$)Change
1Processed petroleum oils$46.8 billion+34.2%
2Diamonds (unmounted/unset)$25.6 billion+4%
3Medication mixes in dosage$12.8 billion+10.6%
4Jewelry$12.4 billion-3%
5Rice$7.4 billion+4.5%
6Cars$7.2 billion+8.9%
7Automobile parts/accessories$5.1 billion+15.3%
8Crustaceans (including lobsters)$4.5 billion-6.3%
9Cyclic hydrocarbons$4.3 billion+86.8%
10Yarn (85%+ cotton)$3.8 billion+13.5%
11Aluminum (unwrought)$3.8 billion+51.1%
12Turbo-jets$3.5 billion+98.6%
13Frozen beef$3.3 billion-15.7%
14Packaged insecticides/fungicides/herbicides$3 billion+21.7%
15Synthetic organic coloring$2.5 billion+19%
16T-shirts, vests (knit or crochet)$2.5 billion-9.3%
17Women's clothing (not knit or crochet)$2.4 billion-2.7%
18Heterocyclics, nucleic acids$2.4 billion+6.4%
19Cotton (uncarded, uncombed)$2.2 billion+34.4%
20Iron ferroalloys$2.2 billion-1.2%
21Motorcycles$2.1 billion+12.3%
22Light vessels, fire boats, floating docks$2.1 billion-40.2%
23Phone system devices $2 billion+94.2%
24Footwear (leather)$1.9 billion+5.1%
25Rubber tires (new)$1.8 billion+10.4%
26Aircraft parts$1.8 billion-18.2%
27Miscellaneous furnishings$1.8 billion+11.1%
28Hot-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$1.8 billion-35%
29Linens$1.6 billion+2.4%
30Polyacetal/ether/carbonates$1.5 billion+27.7%
31Cases, handbags, wallets$1.4 billion+9%
32Electrical converters/power units$1.4 billion+18.3%
33Trucks$1.3 billion+43.4%
34Taps, valves, similar appliances$1.3 billion+6.6%
35Synthetic filament yarn$1.3 billion+13%
36Women's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.3 billion-8.4%
37Iron ores, concentrates$1.2 billion-24%
38Iron or non-alloy steel products (semi-finished)$1.2 billion+8.8%
39Ethylene polymers$1.2 billion+146.9%
40Piston engine parts$1.2 billion+21.6%
41Tracksuits, swimwear (not knit or crochet)$1.2 billion-7.5%
42Transmission shafts, gears, clutches$1.1 billion+36%
43Miscellaneous iron or steel items$1.1 billion+4.9%
44Other organic compounds$1.1 billion+6.9%
45Flat-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products (plated/coated)$1.1 billion-30.5%
46Miscellaneous cast iron or steel items$1.1 billion+17.3%
47Woven cotton fabrics$1.1 billion+10.5%
48Men's shirts (not knit or crochet)$1.1 billion-18.1%
49Carbon electrodes, brushes$1.1 billion+273.9%
50Men's suits, trousers (not knit or crochet)$1 billion-11.6%
51Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$1 billion+23.3%
52Unglazed flags, tiles$1 billion+45.1%
53Monument/building stones, art$1 billion+3.2%
54Vegetable saps, extracts$995.8 million+8.8%
55Tractors$970.8 million+6.8%
56Miscellaneous iron and steel structures$969.9 million+4.1%
57Liquid pumps and elevators$964.6 million+6.7%
58Packing sacks, bags$929.3 million+25.6%
59Sugar (cane or beet)$919.2 million-4.6%
60Propylene/olefin polymers$901.9 million+76.6%
61Fixed vegetable fats/oils$899 million-6%
62Synthetic yarn woven fabrics$893.2 million-1.8%
63Insulated wire/cable$889 million+8.7%
64Soya-bean oil-cake, other solid residues$884.4 million+5.8%
65Blood fractions (including antisera)$879.6 million+17.3%
66Refined copper, unwrought alloys$867.2 million-64.7%
67Essential oils$859.4 million+9.3%
68Antibiotics$854.4 million+2.5%
69Engines (diesel)$852.1 million+58.2%
70Infant clothing (knit or crochet)$845.8 million-6%
71Coins$836.2 million-41.3%
72Air or vacuum pumps$833.3 million+13.2%
73Stainless steel bars, rods$825.4 million+34.9%
74Plastic packing goods, lids, caps$824 million+15%
75Leather clothing, accessories$822 million-6.3%
76Monument or building stone$819.6 million+0.9%
77Electro-medical equip (e.g. xrays)$785.5 million+20.1%
78Pepper (dried/crushed/ground)$772.1 million-13.8%
79Miscellaneous furniture$770.7 million+17.3%
80Moluscs$766.9 million-5.5%
81Tea (including flavored)$763.2 million-0.8%
82Coconuts, Brazil nuts, cashews$758.5 million-27.5%
83Machinery parts$745 million+37.2%
84Aluminum oxide/hydroxide$728.1 million+41.5%
85Zinc (unwrought)$714.1 million-18.5%
86Lower-voltage switches, fuses$713.8 million+14.1%
87Whole fish (frozen)$700.1 million-4.8%
88Iron or steel pipe fittings$676 million+32.7%
89Saturated acyclic mono acids$675 million+27.5%
90Centrifuges, filters and purifiers$673.8 million+23.6%
91Electric circuit parts, fuses, switches$669.1 million+14.3%
92Miscellaneous machinery$644 million-1.7%
93Miscellaneous garments (knit or crochet)$637 million+8.8%
94Men's shirts (knit or crochet)$636.6 million-14.6%
95Amino-compounds (oxygen)$619.9 million+25.1%
96Temperature-change machines$607.2 million+2.9%
97Heavy machinery (bulldozers, excavators, road rollers)$597.1 million+15.8%
98Synthetic staple fibre yarn$595.7 million+5.9%
99Unmanufactured tobacco, tobacco waste$589.4 million-3.7%
100Miscellaneous plastic items$587.3 million-4.5%
101Motorcycle parts/accessories$587.1 million+35.1%
102Iron and steel screws, bolts, nuts, washers$579.4 million+18.7%
103Men's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$576.7 million-19.3%
104Women's clothing (knit or crochet)$573.5 million-22.5%
105Ball, roller bearings$573.5 million+10.7%
106Miscellaneous iron or steel tubes, pipes$571.5 million+8.3%
107Oil seeds$569 million+20.4%
108Women's underwear, pajamas (knit or crochet)$568.2 million+2.5%
109Acyclic alcohols$567.7 million+101.7%
110Cruise/cargo ships, barges$565.4 million+89.1%
111Tufted carpets/textile floor coverings$560.7 million+1.1%
112Carpets, other textile floor coverings$557.2 million+11.1%
113Miscellaneous heterocyclics$549.4 million+15.3%
114Amine-function compounds$535.1 million+20.5%
115Miscellaneous articles, dress patterns$528.1 million-19.9%
116Fennel, coriander, caraway seeds$526.2 million+17.2%
117Iron and steel tables, household items$522.3 million-0.6%
118Coffee$520.2 million-18.7%
119Tugboats, pusher craft$519.4 million-1.2%
120Electrical/optical circuit boards, panels$514.7 million+11.2%
121Carboxyamid/amide-function compounds$501.9 million+58.7%
122Flat-rolled stainless steel items$501.5 million-11.2%
123Cyclic alcohols, derivatives$500.5 million+46.7%
124Sort/screen/washing machinery$490.7 million+26.1%
125Ethers$490.5 million+50.9%
126Electric motors, generators$487.7 million+7.3%
127Other animal leather$486 million-14.3%
128Chassis fitted with engine$483.3 million+3.8%
129Electric motor parts$476.5 million+83.8%
130Cold-rolled iron or non-alloy steel products$473.7 million-46.4%
131Mattresses, quilts$471.2 million+14.5%
132Shawls, scarves$470.3 million-22.3%
133Coal tar oils (high temperature distillation)$466.1 million+73.6%
134Woven fabrics (85%+ cotton)$464.9 million+7%
135Men's suits,trousers (knit or crochet)$462.3 million-30.5%
136Vulcanized rubber items$459.7 million+12.7%
137Unroasted ground-nuts$457.2 million-32%
138Precious/semi-precious stones (unstrung)$447.6 million-3.4%
139Synthetic staple fibre woven fabrics$445.2 million-18.6%
140Optical fiber cables, sheets, plates$439.1 million+3.8%
141Warships, lifeboats$430.5 million+41.7%
142Lead (unwrought)$428.3 million+18%
143Acyclic hydrocarbons$428 million+68.7%
144Uncoated paper for writing/printing$426.5 million+42.2%
145Piston engines$425.1 million-48.4%
146Onions, garlic, leeks$424.6 million-5.2%
147Ketones, quinones$420.8 million+31.1%
148Ginger, saffron, thyme, bay leaves, curry$417.6 million+6.7%
149Iron and steel tubes, pipes$405.7 million-39.1%
150Crustaceans, molluscs (preserved/prepared)$383.4 million+7.9%
151Coffee/tea extracts, concentrates$381.8 million+0.4%
152Uncarded synthetic staple fibers$370.5 million+28.4%
153Vapour-based boilers$369.1 million+62.5%
154Electric generating sets, converters$369 million+22%
155Jerseys, pullovers (knit or crochet)$361.7 million+14.4%
156Electric storage batteries$361.3 million+36.6%
157Miscellaneous oil cakes$360.9 million+55.1%
158Miscellaneous aluminum items$351.7 million+3.7%
159Insoles, heel cushions$349.3 million-0.2%
160Electric ignition/start equipment$349.1 million+18.5%
161Iron or steel tubes, pipes$344 million+28.4%
162Other organic cleaning preparations$341.1 million+3.5%
163Carboxylic acids$341 million+20.8%
164Bread, biscuits, cakes, pastries$337.8 million-1.2%
165Scents used for beverage or industrial manufacturing$333 million+27%
166Grapes (fresh or dried)$332.3 million+8.8%
167Plastic plates, sheets, film, tape, strips$330.7 million+18%
168Medication mixes not in dosage$330.5 million+0.7%
169Chemical industry products/residuals$329.1 million+19.7%
170Polycarboxylic acids$328.1 million-14.1%
171Rubber/plastic article making machines$315.9 million+12.5%
172Miscellaneous/adhesive paper$315.1 million+11.5%
173Textile floor coverings (not knotted/woven)$314 million+1.6%
174Knotted textile floorings, carpets$312.8 million-18.6%
175Medicinal plants$308.7 million+5.7%
176Miscellaneous copper items$308.4 million-36.1%
177Textile fiber work machines$306.3 million+26.2%
178Other food preparations$305 million+24.5%
179Pipe/chewing/snuff tobaccos$304.3 million+30.8%
180Stainless steel wire in coils$303.8 million+16%
181Other than warp-knit fabrics$303.8 million+30.5%
182X-ray equipment$300.5 million+30.8%
183Miscellaneous animal feed preparations$296.4 million+14.5%
184Hydraulic cements$295.8 million+8.9%
185Petroleum oil residues$293.5 million-0.3%
186Dried shelled vegetables$293.1 million+47.7%
187Aluminum stranded wire, cables, bands$289.6 million+32.1%
188Petroleum gases$285.4 million+26.5%
189Fish fillets, pieces$269.4 million+19.4%
190Computer parts, accessories$265.9 million+10.8%
191Synthetic precious stones$265 million+20.5%
192Interchangeable hand/machine tools$263.6 million+13.3%
193Footwear (rubber or plastic)$260.5 million-15.1%
194Baby clothing, accessories$257.2 million-8.6%
195Printed books, brochures$256 million+35.6%
196Regulate/control instruments$255.4 million+1.6%
197Corn$254.8 million+62.1%
198Coconut, other vegetable textiles$254 million+2.3%
199Hydrocarbon derivatives$251.7 million+5.8%
200Glass bottles, flasks, jars, pots$251.5 million+24%

These 200 exported goods were worth a subtotal of US$277.3 billion or 85.8% by value for all products exported from India during 2018.

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 March 7, 2019

The World Factbook, Country Profiles, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 7, 2019

Trade Map, International Trade Centre. Accessed on March 7, 2019

Investopedia, Net Exports Definition. Accessed on March 7, 2019

Wikipedia, List of Companies of India. Accessed on March 7, 2019

Forbes Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 7, 2019