India has $190-bn trade deficit with 80 countries: Sharma

05 Aug 2013


India has piled up a trade deficit of Rs191.6 billion with as many as 80 countries, including China, Australia and Iraq, according to figures available for the 2012-13 financial year.

"India has a trade deficit with 80 countries in 2012-13, commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.

Of the 80 countries, China, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Venezuela, Nigeria, Australia, and Indonesia, comprise the top 10, account for over 75 per cent of the country's overall trade deficit, the minister stated in his reply.

"Contribution of trade deficit of these ten countries to our trade deficit is 76.5 per cent," he said.

India's exports during 2012-13 stood at $300.3 billion, while imports aggregated to $491.9 billion. Trade deficit stood at $191.6 billion, he said.

The minister attributed this to the global economic crisis, the sovereign debt crisis in Europe and the slowdown in developed economies have adversely impacted demand for India's exports.

"The international prices of petroleum, fertilisers, gold, edible oil have increased. Their demand has also increased. These lead to a higher value of imports. As a result, the trade deficit has increased," he added.

Sharma said the government has taken various steps to reduce trade deficit, like imposing restrictions on import of certain goods like precious metals and is weighing the various representations from trade bodies to give impetus to exports.

The government, he said, has also increased interest subsidy on export credit to 3 per cent and imposed selective restrictions on import of gold to reduce the country's trade deficit," he added.

India's forex reserves, meanwhile, has also depleted and are barely enough to meet 59 per cent of the country's trade deficit.

The trade deficit of the country, which was hardly 2.9 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) in 1990-91, has gone up to 10.2 per cent of GDP in 2011-12 and rose further to 10.37 per cent in 2012-13.

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