Embassy Archives What's New/Press Releases

India-US bilateral trade zooms in 2002

Washington, DC
March 04, 2003

As per US trade data released by the US Department of Commerce, worldwide merchandise exports to USA grew during calendar year 2002 by +1.98%. Out of the top 25 exporting countries to USA, growth rates for 14 were positive, while 11 countries witnessed decline in their exports to USA.

Merchandise exports from India to USA grew by +21.4% in 2002 compared to 2001, rising from $9.74 billion to $11.82 billion. This strong performance reflects the highest annual percentage growth in Indian exports to USA over the past decade. It is particularly noteworthy as it has occurred against a backdrop of lackluster growth in worldwide exports to USA in 2002, and despite concerns over trading with India due to heightened tensions in the subcontinent and travel advisories against visiting India that were briefly in place during mid 2002.

India has emerged as the 19th largest merchandise exporter to USA in 2002 (up from 22nd position in 2001) with a 1.02% share of total US imports (up from a 0.86% share in 2001). 2002 marks the first year that India has entered the list of top 20 countries exporting to USA; it is also the first time that India’s exports to USA have exceeded 1% of US merchandise imports. It also marks the first time in recent years that the rate of growth of Indian merchandise exports to USA (21.4%) has outpaced the rate of growth in our India’s services exports to USA (20%).

Growth has been more or less across the board and major Indian export growth sectors in 2002 include diamonds/gold jewellery (+39%), woven apparel (+9%), linen and other textile items (+23%), knit apparel (+13%), fish & seafood (+36%), carpets (+19%), machinery (+23%), iron and steel (+270%), iron and steel products (+15%), and pharmaceuticals (+136%).

Nine of the top ten items that India exports to USA witnessed export growth (the exception - “organic chemicals”). Sector-wise export performance is summarized below:

Diamond jewellery: India significantly increased its export of non-industrial worked diamonds to USA by $700 million, from $1.9 billion to $2.6 billion. Gold jewellery: India increased its export of gold jewellery to USA by $287 million (53%), from $540 million to $827 million. Carpets: India consolidated its position as the top exporter of carpets to USA with exports of $384 million in 2002, and expanded its market share to 25%. Frozen shrimp: India increased its exports of frozen shrimp to USA by $102 million, from $280 million (2001) to $382 million (2002). Iron and steel:  India’s iron and steel exports to USA grew from $84 million (2001) to $311 million (2002).  Iron and Steel Products:  Export of Indian iron and steel products have risen by 15% from $266 million (2001) to $306 million (2002). Textile and Apparel: This sector witnessed good growth despite quotas. Removal of quotas on some items with effect from January 1, 2002, and increased export of non-quota apparel items has helped.  Linen: Total export of miscellaneous textile items have risen by 23% from $496 million to $612 million. Amongst them, for the first time, India is now the largest exporter of linen (bed/table/kitchen linen) to USA.  Pharmaceuticals: India’s pharmaceutical exports have zoomed from $6 million (2000) to $93 million (2001) to $223 million (2002). India is now the largest exporter of antibiotics to USA. Machinery: Our exports to USA have risen from $246 million (2001) to $303 million (2002). Auto parts: India exports to USA have risen from $100 million to $132 million and considerable untapped potential remains. Miscellaneous: In 2002, compared to 2001, India’s exports have grown in areas ranging from worked monument stone/slate (by 20% to $143 million), to optical/medical instruments (by 39% to 107 million), to lamps (by 7% to $71 million) to quilts (by 23% to $68 million), to tobacco (by 97% to $20 million). India exported tractors worth $41 million to USA. India regained its position as the top exporter to USA of niger seed (used for bird feed), with $10 million in exports.

India is now the number one exporter to USA of small/medium sized diamonds ($2.6 billion), knotted and woven carpets ($384 million), linen ($366 million), large/medium sized frozen shrimp with shell-on ($220 million), cashew nuts (213 million), antibiotics ($138 million), woven silk fabrics ($85 million), pepper ($32 million), opium ($31 million), guar gum ($23 million), psyllium seed husk ($22 million), woven jute fabrics ($14 million), and niger seed ($10 million).

During 2002, worldwide merchandise exports from USA dipped by -4.9% compared to 2001, declining to 21 of the top 30 US export destinations. It grew to only nine amongst them, including to India. Growth in US exports to India was +9.1% and is particularly commendable when viewed against the backdrop of a -4.9% decline in overall US exports.

Overall, the picture is as follows:

India-US trade: Calendar Year 2002 (figures for 2001 are in brackets)


1. Indian merchandise exports to USA     = $11.8 billion      ($9.7 billion)

2. US merchandise exports to India         =  $  4.1 billion      ($3.8 billion)

3. India-USA merchandise trade [1+2]    =  $15.9 billion    ($13.5 billion)

4. Indian IT/software exports to USA        = $  5.7 billion      ($4.8 billion)

5. Total Indian exports to USA [1+4]         = $17.5 billion    ($14.5 billion)

     {Merchandise + IT/software exports}

6. USA services exports to India             =  $ 3.1 billion       ($2.8 billion) 

7. Total USA exports to India [2+6]          =  $ 7.2 billion       ($6.6 billion) 

     {Merchandise + Services}

8. Total India-USA trade [5+7]                  = $ 24.7 billion    ($21.1 billion) 

    {Merchandise + Indian IT/software exports + US services exports}

9. Merchandise trade gap [1-2]               = +$7.7 billion      (+$5.9 billion) 

         (in India’s favor)

10. Total trade gap [5-7]                          = +$10.3 billion    (+$7.9 billion) 

         (in India’s favor)

For more information, contact:
Sunil Lal, Counsellor (Press & Information) at (202) 939-7042