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Updated on May 14, 2024 , 9789 views

What is an Import?

An import is a process of bringing services or products from another country that is producing them. Imports and exports are generally the primary aspects of international trade. If the value of imports, for a country, is more than the value of exports, then that country is regarded to have a negative balance of trade, which is also known as the trade deficit.


According to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India recorded $4.83 billion of the trade deficit in July 2020.

Understanding Imports

Basically, countries import such products or services that their local industries are unable to manufacture as cheaply or efficiently as the exporting country. Not just the final product, but countries may also import commodities or Raw Materials that are not available within their geographical regions.

For instance, there is plenty of countries that import oil only because they cannot produce it or are unable to meet the demand. Often, tariff schedules and trade agreements dictate which products and materials will be inexpensive to import. Currently, India is importing:

  • Bituminous substances, oils and waxes, mineral fuels (27% of the total import)
  • Jewellery, semi-precious and precious stones and pearls (14% of the total import)
  • Electrical equipment and machinery (10% of the total import)
  • Mechanical appliances & machinery, boilers, nuclear reactors (8% of the total import)
  • Organic chemicals (4% of the total import)

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Apart from that, the major import partners of India are Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, the United States, and China.

Basically, reliability on imports and free-trade agreements with countries that offer cheaper labour could be the reasons for a significant decline in Manufacturing jobs in the importing country. With free trade, there are several possibilities to import materials and products from inexpensive production zones; thus, decreasing the reliability of domestic products.

Statistics of India’s Imports

Considering that India is importing some of the major products, the data from recent years show how imports are exceeding the exports; thus, making the country plunge a big time. In April 2020, India imported $17.12 billion (Rs. 1,30,525.08 crores) worth of merchandise trade.

Apart from Drugs & Pharmaceuticals and Iron Ore, which registered 17.53% of growth, all of the other commodities or groups of commodities in the category of merchandise trade recorded a Negative Growth, when April 2020 data is compared to April 2019 data.

All efforts have been made to ensure the information provided here is accurate. However, no guarantees are made regarding correctness of data. Please verify with scheme information document before making any investment.
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