India-China bilateral trade zooms 88% in Jan-Mar

By siliconindia staff writer   |   Tuesday, 25 May 2004, 07:00 Hrs
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BEIJING: India-China bilateral trade surged by an impressive 87.68 per cent in the first quarter of this year at $3.13 billion, on track to break the $10 billion mark for the first time, official sources said.

"At this rate, we could surely look at India-China bilateral trade exceeding $10 billion by the end of this year," an official source said.

In 2003, India-China trade touched a record $7.6 billion.

India's exports to China during January-March period grew by 124 per cent to $2.12 billion, more than double from the level reached in corresponding period last year.

On the other hand, India's import from China during the first quarter reached $1.01 billion, up 39.94 per cent.

India enjoyed a hefty trade surplus of $1.11 billion during the first quarter compared to $224.32 million during the corresponding period last year, Chinese customs statistics showed.

In March 2004 alone, India's exports to China were worth $879.5 million, while India's imports from China were $386.2 million. Trade in the single month of March 2004 was worth $1.27 billion.

During March 2004, bilateral trade between India and China grew rapidly, primarily on account of growth of iron ore exports from India, official sources said.

Indian export of ores, slag and ash has maintained a high growth rate, with its value going up from less than $250 million in the first quarter of last year to $1.164 billion in the first quarter this year, accounting for over half of India's total exports during the first quarter.

China's bilateral trade with India accounted for 1.31 per cent of China's global trade in January-March 2004 as compared to 0.96 per cent in the first quarter of last year.

In the first three months of 2004, India emerged as the twelfth largest exporting nation to China, sources said.

The share of Indian exports in China's total imports in January-February 2004 was 1.71 per cent. This share has been increasing since 2004. At the end of 2003, India had a 1.03 per cent share in China's imports. In February 2004, the share was 1.6 per cent.

In the first quarter of 2004, India was the 21st major importer of Chinese products. India accounted for 0.87 per cent of China's total exports during this period. At the end of 2003, India accounted for 0.76 per cent of China's exports.

Despite the rapid increase in exports, the composition of the export bundle remained skewed in favour of primary products, sources said. The main items of Indian exports to China are ores, slag and ash, iron and steel, plastics, cotton yarn, organic and inorganic chemicals, grains and seeds, salt, sulphur and stone, mineral fuels and precious stones.

The major items in the Chinese export basket to India included electrical machinery, organic chemicals, machinery, mineral fuels and silk. After registering negative growth in January and a marginal rise in February over corresponding periods last year, electrical machinery, the number one item in Chinese exports to India, grew by 44.5 per cent over the first quarter of 2003, and stood at $245.7 million.

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