India shipped US$264 billion worth of products around the globe in 2015. That figure represents roughly 1.4% of overall global exports estimated at $18.686 trillion.
From a continental perspective, 49.4% of India’s total exports by value in 2015 were delivered to other Asian trade partners.
European importers purchased 18.7% of Indian shipments while 17.1% worth arrived in North America.
At 9.7%, a smallest portion of Indian exports were bought by African importers.
India’s Top Import Partners
Below is a list showcasing 15 of India’s top import partners, countries that imported the most Indian shipments by dollar value during 2015. Also shown is each import country’s percentage of total Indian exports.
- United States: US$40.4 billion (15.3% of total India exports)
- United Arab Emirates: $30.3 billion (11.5%)
- Hong Kong: $12.2 billion (4.6%)
- China: $9.5 billion (3.6%)
- United Kingdom: $8.9 billion (3.4%)
- Singapore: $7.8 billion (2.9%)
- Germany: $7 billion (2.7%)
- Saudi Arabia: $7 billion (2.6%)
- Sri Lanka: $5.5 billion (2.1%)
- Bangladesh: $5.5 billion (2.1%)
- Vietnam: $5.3 billion (2%)
- Belgium: $5 billion (1.9%)
- Malaysia: $4.9 billion (1.9%)
- Netherlands: $4.9 billion (1.8%)
- France: $4.8 billion (1.8%)
Three-fifths (60.2%) of Indian exports in 2015 were delivered to the above 15 trade partners.
Bangladesh increased its import purchases from India from 2011 to 2015 by 60.8%. In second place was Vietnam with a 52.9% gain in value. Saudi Arabia boosted its imports from India by 35.8%.
Leading the decliners was Singapore which cut back its imports from India by -50.2%. Dutch import purchases from India fell in value by -49.7%.
As defined by Investopedia, a country whose total value of all imported goods is higher than its value of all exports is said to have a negative trade balance or deficit.
It would be unrealistic for any exporting nation to expect across-the-board positive trade balances with all its importing partners. Similarly, that export countrydoesn’t necessarily post a negative trade balance with each individual partner with which it exchanges exports and imports.
In 2015, India incurred the highest trade deficits with the following countries:
- China: -US$52 billion (country-specific trade deficit in 2015)
- Switzerland: -$20.1 billion
- Saudi Arabia: -$14.4 billion
- Indonesia: -$11 billion
- Iraq: -$10.2 billion
- South Korea: -$9.5 billion
- Qatar: -$8.7 billion
- Nigeria: -$7.9 billion
- Venezuela: -$6.5 billion
- Australia: -$6.2 billion
Among India’s import partners that cause the greatest negative trade balances, Indian deficits with Indonesia (up 45.6%), China (up 34.1%) and South Korea (up 21.2%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These cashflow deficiencies clearly indicate India’s competitive disadvantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for India to develop country-specific strategies to strengthen its overall position in international trade.
Based on Investopedia’s definition of net importer, a country whose total value of all imported goods is lower than its value of all exports is said to have a positive trade balance or surplus.
In 2015, India incurred the highest trade surpluses with the following countries:
- United States: US$19.9 billion (country-specific trade surplus in 2015)
- United Arab Emirates: $10 billion
- Hong Kong: $6.2 billion
- Bangladesh: $4.8 billion
- Sri Lanka: $4.7 billion
- United Kingdom: $3.5 billion
- Turkey: $3.4 billion
- Kenya: $3.1 billion
- Netherlands: $2.9 billion
- Nepal: $2.7 billion
Among India’s import partners that cause the greatest positive trade balances, Indian surpluses with Hong Kong (up 704%), United Arab Emirates (up 426.1%) and United Kingdom (up 147.1%) grew at the fastest pace from 2011 to 2015.
These positive cashflow streams clearly indicate India’s competitive advantages with the above countries, but also represent key opportunities for India to develop country-specific strategies to optimize its overall position in international trade.
Companies Servicing Indian Import Partners
India placed 54 corporations on the Forbes 2015 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)
See also Highest Value Indian Import Products, India’s Top 10 Imports, Highest Value Indian Export Products, Top Indian Trade Balances and Capital Facts for New Delhi, India
The World Factbook, Field Listing: Imports – Commodities, Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on March 4, 2016
Trade Map, International Trade Centre, www.intracen.org/marketanalysis. Accessed on March 4, 2016
Investopedia, Net Importer Definition. Accessed on March 4, 2016
Forbes 2015 Global 2000 rankings, The World’s Biggest Public Companies. Accessed on March 4, 2016
TradeIndia.com, Sellers by category. Accessed on November 7, 2015