For a long time, India has relied on import of electronic goods such as laptops, personal computers (PCs), integrated circuits and solar cells from China. However, this declined during 2022-23, according to a report by economic think tank GTRI. The fall in imports is notable in electronic items where the PLI (production linked incentive) scheme is operational, the report by Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) said. Import of medical equipment seemingly declined 13.6 percent to $2.2 billion (roughly Rs. 18,087 crore) last fiscal year as compared to 2021-22. Similarly, import of solar cells, parts, diodes slumped 70.9 percent to $1.9 billion (roughly Rs. 15,620 crore) in 2022-23.
A report stated that import of laptops, PCs slipped 23.1 percent to $4.1 billion (roughly Rs. 33,707 crore) and that of mobile phones came down by 4.1 percent to $857 million (roughly Rs. 7,000 crore) in the previous financial year as compared to 2021-2022. Contrary to this, import of lithium-ion batteries surged about 96 percent to $2.2 billion last fiscal year, it said adding the adoption of electric vehicles may increase such imports steeply. “India’s imports from China have shown signs of slowing down, with three data points indicating a decline. Firstly, India’s electronics imports from China have decreased from $30.3 billion in FY22 to $27.6 billion in FY23. Secondly, India’s total goods imports from China grew at a lower rate of 4.2 percent during FY23, compared to global imports, which grew at a higher rate of 16.1 percent,” the co-founder of GTRI, Ajay Srivastava informed.
Thus China’s share in India’s merchandise import has reportedly decreased from 16.4 percent in FY18 to 13.8 percent in FY23, which accounts for a total decline of 15.7 percent. Product categories where the country’s imports from China have registered growth include machinery, chemicals, steel, PVC resin and plastics. It is also speculated that China’s share in India’s merchandise imports decreased from 16.4 percent in 2017-18 to 13.8 percent in 2022-23. Even after this massive decline, China remains India’s top import supplier, and India is critically dependent on China for various products, the report said, adding “Imports from China are high for most countries and India is not an outlier”. Further at the exports front, China remains India’s fourth largest export destination, with the US, UAE, and Netherlands as the top three partners. Indian exports grew in respect to all these three nations but declined for China in the last fiscal. The country’s outbound shipments to China declined 36 percent to $13.6 billion in 2022-23. Srivastava told that India’s fate in electronics and computer hardware production was sealed with India’s signing of the Information Technology Agreement (ITA) in 1997 that made importing any import duties on such products illegal.