What does India import from Switzerland?

by Manshu on January 20, 2012

in Articles

One of the more interesting things I learned while writing about India’s major trade partners was that Switzerland (not China) was the country that India ran it’s largest trade deficit with.

While you’d expect India to import a lot more than it exports to oil producing countries – I was a bit surprised to see that even Switzerland fell into that category.

I looked up further data on what India specifically imported from Switzerland and here are the numbers. The headings of the commodity name are rather long and I’ve retained the same thing that I found on official Department of Commerce website.

Commodity In Millions USD
NATURAL OR CULTURED PEARLS,PRECIOUS OR SEMIPRECIOUS STONES,PRE.METALS,CLAD WITH PRE.METAL AND ARTCLS THEREOF;IMIT.JEWLRY;COIN. $22,815.23
NUCLEAR REACTORS, BOILERS, MACHINERY AND MECHANICAL APPLIANCES; PARTS THEREOF. $565.12
PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS $410.48
ELECTRICAL MACHINERY AND EQUIPMENT AND PARTS THEREOF; SOUND RECORDERS AND REPRODUCERS, TELEVISION IMAGE AND SOUND RECORDERS AND REPRODUCERS,AND PARTS. $172.46
OPTICAL, PHOTOGRAPHIC CINEMATOGRAPHIC MEASURING, CHECKING PRECISION, MEDICAL OR SURGICAL INST. AND APPARATUS PARTS AND ACCESSORIES THEREOF; $170.91
Others $667.64
Total $24,802.00

 

I think the first category consists mainly of gold and here’s a pie chart that I think really drives home the point.

Indian Imports from Switzerland

Indian Imports from Switzerland

 

As  you can see the bulk of the imports are gold and pearls and I think gold must be the primary constituent in this category. Further, I think that the gold people buy for investment like gold ETFs and gold bars and coins sold by banks constitute a large part of these imports.

I say that because this category grew by 75% the last year and people suddenly didn’t start buying that much extra jewelery. This category also happens to be the main reason for growth in imports from Switzerland which grew by 68% overall in the last year. This will probably not grow as much this year so the deficit situation may change, but it’s really amazing how one commodity can drive so much growth in just one year.

It will be interesting to see where else does India import its gold from but that needs to be the topic of another post.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Jai January 20, 2012 at 9:10 am

Thank you Mr. MANSHU for your valuable informations! Have a Happy & Prosperous year ahead!!

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Manshu January 21, 2012 at 6:29 am

Thank you and happy new year to you too Jai.

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Jagbir Singh January 20, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Good article Manshu.

Because many famous branded watch makers are Swiss based, I thought import of watches occupy significant portion of import but its strange to see Gold at top. Does Switzerland have mines to harvest Gold or acting as intermediary to poor African fellows helping selling their Gold to us?

Jagbir

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Shalini January 20, 2012 at 11:03 pm

I remember HDFC bank sells gold bar that are swiss made

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Manshu January 21, 2012 at 6:30 am

It doesn’t appear to me as if there are many mines there, but will have to dig more to see the real situation.

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Shalini January 20, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Few days back while surfing channel I landed on Aastha where a guy was speaking very fluently on Economics & History, his way of oration keep me on this channel and it was an eye opener.
Found on youtube about the same episode
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ZrB1eHrYHk

manhsu, whats your view , He seems to be telling MNC hasn’t contributed anything but taking out wealth from India.
Few headline:
India was exporting 33% 200 year back and now the export is 0.5%
No company has ever came for JV for making satellite for India, they came for making useless thing like soaps-chips-cola.

He is Rajiv Dixit, suddenly died in 2010, though some of his comments looks biased.

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Manshu January 21, 2012 at 6:39 am

I’ve not seen the video but I completely disagree with this philosophy that MNCs are coming to India to exploit the labor and extract wealth. Nothing could be farther from the truth and the last 20 years prove that.
The standard of living and opportunities that Indians have has dramatically improved in the last 20 years – why did that happen? Are Indians in this generation smarter or more hard working? No, absolutely not, they just have a lot more opportunities. And how do they have more opportunities? Because the economy has opened up allowing private companies to set up shop and MNCs to come here and create jobs and employment.

Pepsi may sell sugary water or potato chips but because of them people get employed – people from potato farmers, to truck drivers to ad executives. That’s what keeps the economy moving. And it’s not entirely true that MNCs don’t want to come here and develop high tech business – there are still a lot of restrictions in what they can or can’t do.

I’m totally opposed to the philosophy of thinking that foreigners are going to come and extract wealth from India. That’s simply incorrect, and even a dangerous worldview.

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shalabh tayal May 19, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I dont think MNCs come to help Indians. They have just one sole purpose – to make money. And for that they want intelligent, hard-working labourers and managers at all levels. They dont mind paying a little more than the local cos. to retain the talent. After all, they are proving to be golden eggs for the MNCs. And they also turn out to be newly found market for their shit produced. !

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Vishal Patel April 9, 2013 at 11:07 am

I was just wondered when i found Swiss iss big part of team who drives Indian Currency by widening trade deficits and pushing India back in time.

I am quite happy also that people are aware of things happening in India and in its relate by surfing & searching frenemies of India.

As in given details of trade with swiss by india is largely covered by precious stone, pearl, pr. metal and other related stuff.

have u ever wondered way of money laundering happens in diamond industry?
Hey, do not shout, I am in that business too, and thats y we know it…

lets say we import precious stone (Pearl & diamond) from swiss, it will be invoiced in higher value than its actual….. to send money in swiss A/C.. (probably from 2G scam, CWG scam, Adarsh Scam, Coal Scam, NREGA scam, Helicopter scam etc…)

It’s just all setting from top to bottem, otherwise USA will be more jealous coz India is not being ripped by their AMERICAN INTERESTS….

One last question: How could a country like swiss can develop verygood trade relation which can increase like 66% in couple of years?

Swiss has agreement with most of country for no WAR and thats y they can keep their defense budget very low. Same time they always happy to sell weapons to other countries like India, Pak etc.. They dont have mines for gold & diamonds still they sell it…

only one way to Hail India is Strong JANLOKPAL and no Congress in delhi…!!

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Arun Chaubey May 11, 2013 at 2:38 am

Manshu, I am also writing a paper on India’s Foreign Trade Policy and was amazed to see that Switzerland ranked 5th in the list of largest exporter to India.
As per your article, it’s Gold which India buys from Switzerland. However, as per U.S. Geological Survey website, Switzerland doesn’t exist in the top 11 Gold producers, and China, Australia and USA are the largest producers of Gold.
So now the question should be asked why India buys Gold from Switzerland, not from China, Australia or USA?

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