China-India trade on rise despite chill in bilateral ties, crosses $57 billion in H1 2021


The China-India bilateral trade in the first half of the year totalled $ 57.48 billion, up 62.7 percent year on year, perhaps the highest in recent years amid the Ladakh impasse and the COVID-19 pandemic, according to data released by China’s Customs.

Though Indian exports to China picked up with 69.6 percent year on year increase, the trade deficit, a structural problem for India for long, climbed to 55.6 percent.

According to data released by China’s Customs, India’s exports to China reached $ 14.724 billion, up 69.6 percent year on year in the first six months and India’s imports from China amounted to $ 42.755 billion, up 60.4 percent.

China’s overall trade in the first half of the year rose by 27.1 percent year on year to 18.07 trillion yuan (about $ 2.79 trillion) in the first six months, according to the customs data.

The growth marks an increase of 22.8 percent from the pre-epidemic level in 2019. Exports jumped 28.1 percent from a year earlier, while imports climbed 25.9 percent in yuan terms.

The trade deficit for the first six months of the year stood at $ 28.03 billion, up 55.6 percent year on year, according to official sources.

But the trade figures were regarded as significant as India-China relations were bogged down with the standoff between the two militaries at eastern Ladakh since May last year.

While the COVID-19 second wave has resulted in a major increase in China’s exports, especially the oxygen concentrators, ventilators, monitors, and medical materials and drugs, India’s exports to China were boosted by the increase in iron ore, steel, aluminium and copper.

From January to April this year, China imported a total of 20.28 million tonnes of iron ore from India, an increase of nearly 66 percent from the same period of last year, accounting for nearly 90 percent of India’s total iron ore export, the state-run Global Times reported.

It quoted the data released by the Chinese Foreign Ministry stating that China had exported more than 26,000 ventilators and oxygen generators, more than 15,000 monitors, and nearly 3,800 tonnes of medical materials and drugs to India in April.

Last year the India-China trade totalled to $ 77.67 billion, which was lower than the $ 85.47 billion in 2019.