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Economy in Brief

 Trade Between China and India
by Louise Curley April 12, 2005

China and India recently pledged to increase their bilateral trade from the $14 billion reached in 2003 to $20 billion by 2008 and $30 billion by 2010.

Data enabling one to analyze these prospects are available in the Haver data base, IMFDOTM, which lists monthly exports to and imports from some 210 countries and 24 aggregates. Because it is so detailed, the information tends is published with a long lag. For example, the latest data available today is for November, 2004

One of the first things that emerges from the bilateral trade data between China and India is the contrast between the magnitude of foreign trade of the two countries. In 2003, the last full year available, China's total exports amounted to $428.3 billion and imports, $412.8. India's total exports were $60.8 billion and imports, $69.8 billion. The monthly data for total exports of the two countries are shown in the attached chart.

Not only is there a big difference in the importance of total trade, there is also a significant difference in the importance of the bilateral trade to each country. Although the bilateral trade between India and China has been small, it has been more important to India than to China. India's exports to China amounted to 4.5% of total exports in 2003, while imports from China amounted to 5.3% of total imports. China's exports to India, in contrast, were only 0.8% of total exports and imports from India were 1.0% of total imports. In trade among all the Asian countries, India's exports to China were 16.5% of total exports to Asia and imports from China were 24.0% of Indian imports from Asia. China's exports to India accounted for only 2.3% of total Chinese exports to Asia and imports from India were only 2.7% of total Chinese imports from Asia.

INDIA TRADE IN 2003 Mil US$   %   Mil US$
Exports to China 2,713.3 Percent of Total 4.5 Total Trade with China 6,447.5
Exports to Asia 16,452.8 Percent of Asia 16.5 Total Trade with Asia 31,983.9
Total Exports  30,793.7     Total Trade 130,620.2
Imports from China 3,734.2 Percent of Total 5.3    
Imports from Asia 15,531.1 Percent of Asia 24.0    
Total Imports 69,826.5        
CHINA TRADE IN 2003          
Exports to India 3,343.6 Percent of Total 0.8 Total Trade with India 7,595.
Exports to Asia 145,055.5 Percent of Asia 2.3 Total Trade with Asia 301,630.0
Total Exports  428,273.9     Total Trade 841,110.5
Imports from India 4,251.5 Percent of Total 1.0    
Imports from Asia 156,574.5 Percent of Asia 2.7    
Total Imports 412,836.6        
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