China has emerged as the largest trading partner of India with $118.4 billion two-way commerce in 2023-24, slightly edging past the US, according to the data of economic think tank GTRI.

The bilateral trade between India and the US stood at $118.3 billion in 2023-24. Washington was the top trading partner of New Delhi during 2021-22 and 2022-23.

The data showed that India's exports to China rose by 8.7 per cent to $16.67 billion in the last fiscal. The main sectors which recorded healthy growth in exports to that country include iron ore, cotton yarn/fabrics/madeups, handloom, spices, fruits and vegetables, plastic and linoleum.

Imports from the neighbouring country increased by 3.24 per cent to $101.7 billion.

On the other hand, exports to the US dipped by 1.32 per cent to $77.5 billion in 2023-24 as against $78.54 billion in 2022-23, while imports dipped by about 20 per cent to $40.8 billion, the data showed.

The Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI) said that from fiscal year 2019 to FY2024, India's trade dynamics with its top 15 trading partners underwent significant transformations, impacting both exports and imports along with the status of trade surplus or deficit across various sectors.

It added that China witnessed a marginal decline in exports by 0.6 per cent, from $16.75 billion to $16.66 billion, while imports from China surged by 44.7 per cent, from $70.32 billion to $101.75 billion.

"This growth in imports led to an expanding trade deficit, rising from $53.57 billion in FY2019 to $85.09 billion in FY2024, highlighting concerns over stagnant exports amidst rising imports," GTRI Founder Ajay Srivastava said.

Conversely, it said, trade with the US showed growth, with exports increasing significantly by 47.9 per cent from $52.41 billion to $77.52 billion.

Imports from the US also grew by 14.7 per cent, from $35.55 billion to $40.78 billion. This resulted in an expanded trade surplus for India, which grew from $16.86 billion to $36.74 billion.

According to the commerce ministry data, China was India's top trading partner from 2013-14 till 2017-18 and also in 2020-21. Before China, the UAE was the country's largest trading partner. The US was the largest partner in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

In 2023-24, the UAE with USD 83.6 billion, was the third largest trading partner of India. It was followed by Russia ($65.7 billion), Saudi Arabia ($43.4 billion), and Singapore ($35.6 billion).