China-India trade on rise despite border tensions and Pandemic

  • India’s trade with China in the first half of 2021 rose by a record 62.7% — the highest increase among China’s major trade partners — with total two-way trade surpassing the pre-pandemic levels.
  • Two-way trade after six months was $57.48 billion, the highest on record for the first half. Bilateral trade surged from the year-earlier period, when trade slumped amid the pandemic, and surpassed the $44.72 billion pre-pandemic figure recorded in the first half of 2019, according to data released by China’s General Administration of Customs (GCA).
  • India’s imports, driven by record purchases of medical supplies, reached $42.76 billion this year, up 60.4% and higher than the first-half 2019 figure of $35.8 billion.
  • India’s exports to China climbed 69.6% to $14.72 billion, also the highest figure on record for the first half of any year. India’s biggest exports to China annually are iron ore, cotton, and other raw material-based commodities. The trade deficit after the first six months stood at $28.04 billion.
  • The 62.7% increase was the highest among China’s major trading partners. Trade with ASEAN, China’s biggest trading partner, was up 38.2% to $410.75 billion. Trade with the EU reached $388.2 billion, up 37%, while two-way figures with the United States were up 45.7% at $340.8 billion. And while trade with South Africa surged 70%, the total bilateral trade figure of $25.32 billion, less than half India’s, does not place the African country among China’s top 25 trading partners.
  • The GAC said China’s foreign trade in the first half of 2021 “posted the best performance in history, underpinned by the country’s sustainable economic recovery and strong global demand”, the official Xinhua news agency reported, adding that total trade was up 27.1% to $2.79 trillion.