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China’s imports into India were less than 2% of the total basket in 1997, today Chinese products dominate the market

China, which was India’s 18th largest importer in 1997, today dominates a chunk of the country’s market. Chinese products – finished as well as raw materials– have made inroads into every nook and corner of the country. In 1997, the total imports comprised just 1.9 per cent of the total basket, a report by the State Bank of India said.

“In principle, China has spread out in all other categories, including low value manufacturing to high value capital and electrical good imports to India,” the report said.

According to the report, India imported over 800 products – each with import value less than $100 million but in total it adds up to a whopping $3944 million.

“In terms of low value imports if we take commodities with an import value of less than $100 million, but which command more than 90% share in our imports, we have 823 products imported from China worth $3944 million,” it said.

The products include organic chemicals, machinery and mechanical appliances, textiles and textile Articles. Besides, India imported iron and steel, tools and products made of other base metals apart from miscellaneous manufactured finished items such as toys, furniture, articles of stone, plaster, cement, ceramic products, glass and glassware, plastics, rubber and footwear in the low value category. The items are a mix of finished goods and intermediate inputs and India has a revealed comparative advantage in many of these imports, the report revealed.

India’s trade, however, with mainland China and Hong Kong has shown a drop of 7 per cent in 2019-20 to $109.76 – the sharpest fall in the last seven years. In 2018-19, trade between the two countries grew by only 3.2 per cent after a huge increase of 22 per cent in the previous financial year.

There has been an unprecedented rise in anti-Chinese sentiment in the country after the military aggression over the Line of Actual Control (LAC) by the dragon nation which left 20 Indian soldiers dead. However, the sentiments had started showing up since March in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic which dented India’s economic activities leaving many jobless and others with lower wages..