Why a blanket ban on Chinese goods harms India

Trade data shows India’s bargaining power is limited: India needs China more than China needs India


In eight of the top 10 categories by value, India imports more from China than any other nation. Photo: Bloomberg
In eight of the top 10 categories by value, India imports more from China than any other nation. Photo: Bloomberg

Responding to the growing clamour in India for a ban on imports from China, the Chinese embassy recently warned such a step will impact trade and investment. Some others, too, have cautioned against a ban. Generally, trade is a good thing: it increases economic well- being and can help avoid wars.

Trade data shows India’s bargaining power is limited: India needs China more than China needs India. China accounts for nearly 20% of India’s imports. Toys, kite strings and crackers may be the most visible imports for consumers, but they don’t even make the top 10 by category. The big numbers are classed as industrial goods—electrical machinery, nuclear reactors and organic chemicals. In eight of the top 10 categories by value, India imports more from China than any other nation, essentially drowning out the demand for a blanket ban.

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