India’s Chinese Import Bill Rise


  • According to a report by the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), Goods imports from China have risen 2.3 times faster than India’s total imports over 15 years.

Key Findings

  • India’s imports from China crossed $101 billion in 2023-24 from about $70 billion in 2018-19, and the country’s share of India’s industrial goods imports has risen from 21% to 30% over 15 years.
  • India’s total merchandise imports stood at $677.2 billion in 2023-24, of which 15% or $101.8 billion worth goods were sourced from China.
  • China is the top supplier in eight major industrial sectors, including machinery, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, textiles etc.
  • Trade deficit concern: Between 2018-19 and 2023-24, India’s exports to China have stagnated around $16 billion annually while imports have surged, resulting in a cumulative trade deficit exceeding $387 billion over six years.

Concerns of India- China Trade Relations

  • Trade Imbalance: India imports far more goods from China than it exports, leading to a large trade deficit.
  • This trade imbalance has been a persistent issue and has raised concerns about the impact on India’s domestic industries and employment.
  • Quality and Safety of Chinese Goods: There have been concerns in India about the quality and safety of some Chinese goods, particularly in sectors such as electronics and consumer products.
  • Incidents of substandard or counterfeit products entering the Indian market have raised regulatory and consumer protection concerns.
  • Dumping Practices: India has accused China of engaging in dumping practices, whereby Chinese companies allegedly flood the Indian market with cheap goods at prices below production costs
  • This harms domestic industries in India by undercutting their competitiveness and market share.
  • Market Access and Non-Tariff Barriers: Issues such as restrictions on foreign investment, complex approval processes, and intellectual property rights protection have hindered Indian businesses’ efforts to expand into China.
  • Strategic Competition: India and China are also engaged in strategic competition, both regionally and globally.
  • Their growing influence in South Asia and the Indian Ocean region has led to geopolitical rivalries, which can affect trade relations.
  • Security concerns related to Chinese investments in critical infrastructure projects in India have also raised alarms.
  • India has been cautious about allowing Chinese companies to participate in sensitive sectors such as telecommunications and infrastructure, citing national security concerns.

Concluding Remarks

  • The strategic implications of the dependency on China are profound and affect not only economic but national security dimensions.
  • There is a need for a reassessment of India’s import strategies. This is imperative not only to mitigate economic risks but also to bolster domestic industries and reduce dependency on single-country imports.