NEW DELHI : The US has emerged as India’s biggest trading partner during the first half of the current financial year despite global economic uncertainties and declining exports and imports, according to government data.
According to the provisional data of the Commerce Ministry, the bilateral trade between India and the US has declined by 11.3 per cent to $ 59.67 billion during April-September 2023 against $ 67.28 billion in the same period last year.
Exports to the US have come down to $ 38.28 billion during April-September 2023 from $ 41.49 billion a year ago.
Imports also declined to $ 21.39 billion during the first six months of the current fiscal compared to $ 25.79 billion in the same period last year.
Similarly, the two-way trade between India and China also dipped by 3.56 per cent to $ 58.11 billion.
Exports to China contracted marginally to $ 7.74 billion during the first half of the current fiscal from $ 7.84 billion in the year-ago period. Imports fell to $ 50.47 billion from $ 52.42 billion a year earlier.
Trade experts believe that though exports and imports are declining between India and the US due to global demand slowdown, the growth rate will enter a positive zone soon.
Despite this, the trend of increasing bilateral trade with the US will continue in the coming years as New Delhi and Washington are engaged in further strengthening the economic ties, they said.
Chairman of the CII National committee on EXIM Mr. Sanjay Budhia has earlier stated that an early solution for restoration of GSP benefits by the US to Indian exporters is the need of the hour as it would help further boost the bilateral trade.
Mumbai-based exporter Khalid Khan said that going by the trend, the US will continue to be the biggest trading partner of India despite the global challenges.
Ludhiana-based exporter SC Ralhan said that the trade between New Delhi and Washington will continuously grow in the coming years.
“The US should seriously consider restoration of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) benefits to domestic exporters as it would significantly help boost trade,” Ralhan noted.
America is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.
The US was India’s biggest trading partner in 2022-23. The bilateral trade between India and the US rose 7.65 per cent to $ 128.55 in 2022-23 against $ 119.5 billion in 2021-22. It was $ 80.51 billion in 2020-21.
Earlier, China was India’s top trading partner from 2013-14 till 2017-18 and also in 2020-21. Before China, the UAE was the country’s largest trading partner.
In 2022-23, the UAE, with $ 76.16 billion bilateral trade, was the third largest trading partner of India, followed by Saudi Arabia ($ 52.72 billion) and Singapore ($ 35.55 billion).
During April-September 2023, the bilateral trade between India and the UAE stood at $ 36.16 billion.