China Becomes India’s Top Trading Partner

A recent report by the New Delhi-based industry trade group, the PHD Chamber of Commerce, reveals that China has replaced the United Arab Emirates as India’s top trading partner, with Indian-Sino trade hitting $49.5 billion in the current fiscal year’s first nine months. Referred to as “South-South” trade, this inter-regional trend among Asian countries reached $4.7 trillion in 2013, as noted in the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Handbook of Statistics 2013. South-South trade accounts for more than 25 percent of total world exports.

China and India are both among the top trading countries in the world, with up to 35 countries identifying China as their main trading partner, and six countries naming India as their top trading partner. However, while the statistics look promising, analysts note that economic cooperation between the neighboring countries is marred by ongoing disputes, one of which revolves on an area along the Himalayan border that India calls Arunachal Pradesh, and China calls South Tibet. It was reported last week the Narendra Modi, the chief minister of Gujarat and potential candidate for India’s next prime minister, referred to China’s pursuit of ownership of this region as ‘expansionist’.

According to China’s Ministry of Commerce, 2013 statistics show that China has become the world’s top trader, with exports of $2.21 trillion and imports of $1.95 trillion. World markets remained largely unmoved by this news, with some analysts voicing their doubts about the accuracy of the numbers. China economist for Australia and New Zealand Banks noted that there may be speculative trade activities disguised as exports, a practice which the Chinese government has been attempting to clamp down on. Previous problems with China’s statistics included exporters processing fake orders for tax purposes and capital inflows being presented as exports.