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US-India bilateral exchange up 12% in 2018 amid the noise of trade war

Value of goods and services traded between the two nations rose to $142.1 bn in 2018 from $126.2 bn in 2017; US trade deficit with India narrowed to $24.2 bn from $27.2 bn

India US trade

Amid the hullabaloo over the trade war between India and United States, bilateral exchange of goods and services between the two nations has risen 12.6 per cent to $142.1 billion in 2018 from $126.2 billion in 2017.

According to United States Trade Representative (USTR), exports of goods and services from US to India were valued at $58.9 billion whereas imports were worth $83.2 billion in 2018.

The data belies the simmering trade conflict between the two countries. Only last month, US had announced it was scrapping concessions to India under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). The GSP scheme, launched in 1974, was aimed to assist developing countries in increasing their exports by facilitating duty-free entry for thousands of products from designated beneficiary countries.

US goods and services trade deficit with India was $24.2 billion in 2018 against $27.3 billion in 2017.

While goods worth $87.5 billion were traded between the two countries in the last calendar year, the exchange of services totaled $54.6 billion during the period.

“India is currently our ninth largest goods trading partner with $87.5 billion in total (two-way) goods trade during 2018. Goods exports totaled $33.1 billion; goods imports totaled $54.4 billion. The US goods trade deficit with India was $21.3 billion in 2018”, USTR said in its website.

Trade in services with India (exports and imports) was $54.6 billion in 2018. Services worth $25.8 billion were exported by USA to India, services imports from India were valued at $28.8 billion. The US services trade deficit with India was $3 billion in 2018.

While India was the US’s 13th largest goods export market in 2018, the latter exported $33.1 billion in 2018 to India, up 28.9 per cent ($7.4 billion) from 2017. US exports to India accounted for two per cent of country’s overall exports in 2018. The top export categories were precious metal and stone (diamonds) valued at $7.9 billion, mineral fuels ($6.2 billion), aircraft ($3.0 billion), machinery ($2.2 billion) and optical & medical instruments ($1.6 billion). In the services bracket, US exports were valued at $25.8 billion in 2018, about 8.6per cent more than the previous year. India was the 13th largest goods export market for US in 2018.

Imports of goods and services from India to US has recorded a growth of 11.9 per cent and 2.2 per cent respectively in 2018 than 2017 levels.

US goods imports from India totaled $54.4 billion in 2018.The top import categories during the last calendar year were precious metal and stone (diamonds) ($11 billion), pharmaceuticals ($6.3 billion), machinery ($3.3 billion), mineral fuels ($3.2 billion), and vehicles ($2.8 billion). Similarly, services worth $28.8 billion were imported from India.

“Leading services imports from India to the US were in the telecommunications, computer, and information services, research and development, and travel sectors”, USTR said.

The US goods trade deficit with India was $21.3 billion in 2018, a 7.1 per cent decrease ($1.6 billion) over 2017 and a services trade deficit of $3 billion with India in 2018, a 32.5 per cent from 2017.