From infrastructure to hi-tech: Mapping China’s large trade footprint in India !!

New Delhi:  The deadly border skirmishes between India-China have cast a cloud over trade relations, which have seen the latter rapidly expand its footprint in the Indian economy, spanning infrastructure, physical goods and hi-tech, with the value of total bilateral trade surging 20% in the last six years, according to official data. At least some of this surge, experts admit, has come at the cost of local industry.

Chinese firms have ploughed huge investments into some of the country’s most iconic tech brands, such as the ride-hailing service Ola, a fintech company Paytm, food-delivery app Zomato and e-commerce platform Flipkart.

How large are Chinese investments in India and what do the two countries trade in? Mapping these two variables shows bilateral trade clocked an average double-digit growth in the last three years, and much of it to China’s advantage.

According to data from the commerce ministry, India’s bilateral trade with China was worth nearly $80 billion in 2019. Data posted on India’s Beijing embassy website, which it sourced to China’s customs department, showed total bilateral trade between Jan and Nov 2019 at $84.3 billion, a drop of nearly 3.2% from the previous year’s $ 95.7 billion.

China is India’s largest trading partner, but the latter runs a large trade deficit. This means India buys far more goods from China, in value terms, than it sells to that country.

Imports from China account for an average 16% of India’s total. On the other hand, in India’s total exports, China’s share is just 3.2%. So, to be sure, the trade imbalance is substantial and works to India’s disadvantage.

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