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Despite frosty relations, India’s trade with China hits new records

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(TibetanReview.net, Jan15’23) – India’s hopes to use economic leverage to get China to cooperate in restoring amity along their disputed occupied-Tibet border appears to be headed nowhere, going by the trade figures between the two sides which have ballooned to new records during the year 2022. And while the trade figures have hit new highs, the frosty ties caused by China’s aggressive border moves and postures continue to be at their nadir in decades.

While trade between the two sides touched an all-time high of $135.98 billion in 2022, New Delhi’s trade deficit with Beijing crossed for the first time a $100 billion mark despite frosty bilateral relations, reported the PTI news agency Jan 14, citing data released by the Chinese customs on Jan 13.

China’s exports to India during 2022 have climbed to $118.5 billion, a year-on-year increase of 21.7%. However, China’s imports from India have dwindled to $17.48 billion, a year-on-year decline of 37.9%.

And India’s trade deficit vis-à-vis China stood at $101.02 billion, well past the 2021 figure of $69.38 million, the report noted.

And in 2021, the overall trade with China totalled $125.62 billion, an increase of 43.32% year-on-year crossing the $100 billion mark for the first time. The trade deficit in 2021 stood at $69.56 billion as India’s imports from China witnessed an increase of 46.14% to reach $97.59 billion, the report said.

This was despite the fact that India’s exports to China increased by 34.28% year-on-year to reach $28.03 billion in 2021.

The report noted that trade between the two countries had continued to boom despite border tensions following the military standoff in eastern Ladakh in May 2020.

An official brief on trade posted on the Indian embassy’s website in Beijing was quoted as saying, “the rapid expansion of India-China bilateral trade since the beginning of this century has propelled China to emerge as India’s largest goods trading partner by 2008”.

“Since the beginning of the last decade, bilateral trade between the two countries recorded exponential growth. From 2015 to 2021, India-China bilateral trade grew by 75.3%, an average yearly growth of 12.55 per cent,” it was quoted as saying.

Overall, China’s total goods trade during 2022 reached 42.07 trillion yuan, up 7.7% year-on-year, topping the world for six consecutive years, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Jan 14, citing the country’s General Administration of Customs (GAC). The figure exceeded 40 trillion yuan for the first time, the GAC has added.

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