India‘s exports totaled $449.07 billion in 2022, representing a 14% increase at an annual rate, according to data from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce.
Conversely, Indian imports of goods were $729.39 billion, an advance of 27.6% year-on-year.
While India’s overall objective remains to increase exports, given the nation’s largely domestic focus in policymaking, trade policy is often used to encourage domestic production and achieve national inflation and supply targets.
Consequently, according to a World Trade Organization (WTO) report, necessary changes in import and export restrictions and tariffs are made to stabilize domestic supplies of key products.
This aspect was recently noted in the report of the High Level Advisory Group in September 2019, which states that “international trade is given insufficient attention both by the Government of India and abroad, but it is clear that for the public and private sectors it is a priority.”
Frequent changes in import and export policy create uncertainty for economic agents. The report calls for a reduction and rationalization of the tariff to make it simpler and more predictable and, as far as agriculture is concerned, recommends that “there should not be a zero-based policy on agricultural exports and imports, as this prevents farmers from making objective decisions on crop planting”.
The Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), prepared under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulation) Act and formulated and implemented by the Department of Commerce, provides the policy framework.
Other key trade-related laws include the Customs Act, 1962 and the Customs Tariff Act, 1975.
The current FTP covers the period 2015-2021 and is amended periodically to take into account changes in the national and international economic situation.
Under the FTP, India’s trade policy objective is to increase its share in world exports.
The recent trend of India’s exports was as follows: 2018 ($323.998 million), 2019 ($323.251 million), 2020 ($275.489 million) and 2021 ($394.030 million).
As for imports, their sequence occurred as follows: 2018 ($509.273 million), 2019 ($478.884 million), 2020 ($367.980 million) and 2021 ($571.820 million).