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Why is India-China Trade slowing down after years of growth?

India-China Trade Shows Signs of Slowdown, Declining by 0.9% in First Half of Year

The India-China trade, which has experienced significant growth in recent years despite border tensions, is now showing the first signs of a slowdown. In the first half of this year, the trade between the two countries fell by 0.9%. This decline is part of China’s overall struggle to recover from the economic impact of COVID-19, with its foreign trade declining by about five percent.

According to data released by Chinese customs, China’s exports to India in the first half of this year totaled USD 56.53 billion, a decrease of 0.9% compared to last year. Similarly, India’s exports to China during the same period amounted to USD 9.49 billion, slightly lower than the previous year.

The trade deficit between India and China has also declined significantly in the first half of 2023, reaching USD 47.04 billion compared to USD 67.08 billion last year. Despite the decline, last year was a record-breaking year for India-China trade, surpassing USD 135.98 billion, even amidst the tensions over the border standoff.

The slowdown in India-China trade aligns with China’s overall trade decline, as both exports and imports have decreased. In June, China’s exports fell by 12.4% from the previous year, while imports slid 6.8%. This disappointing data reflects the challenges faced by China’s post-pandemic economic recovery and its struggle to stimulate domestic demand without significant government intervention.

While China’s trade with its major partners, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the European Union, and the United States, has also declined, there has been an increase in exports to Russia. However, China’s General Administration of Customs remains optimistic about the future, stating that the foreign trade sector will continue to move in a positive direction in the long term, despite the challenges ahead.

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