India - Country Commercial Guide
Market Overview
Last published date: 2022-09-07

The Indian economy has slowed due to factors related to the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Nonetheless, bilateral U.S.-India trade in goods and services jumped from $120.6 billion in 2020 to $159.1 billion in 2021, signaling resilience in the commercial relationship between the United States and India.  Moreover, after Indian GDP declined by 7.3 percent in 2020, the IMF estimated Indian GDP growth to achieve 9.0 percent in 2021.  The Indian economy is projected to grow by 6.4 percent in 2022.  India jumped three places to become the United States’ ninth largest trading partner in 2021, with sales of U.S. goods and services valued at $56.8 billion.  The United States has remained India’s largest trading partner, with exports of goods and services to the United States worth $102.3 billion.  The United States continues to have a trade deficit with India, which stood at -$45.5 billion in 2021.

Indian-origin FDI into the United States was valued at $12.7 billion in 2020, a slight decrease of $179 million from the previous year.  As of 2020, India’s direct investment in the United States supported over 70,700 U.S. jobs.  Indian FDI projects were clustered in the information technology services, software, business services, pharmaceuticals, and industrial equipment sectors.  FDI from the United States into India was valued at $41.9 billion in 2020.

A wide range of U.S. companies are active in the Indian market, across most sectors.  However, the Indian government has promoted the concept of “self-reliance” as a means to develop and support Indian businesses and employment, which is making it more difficult for U.S. companies to sell their goods and services in India.  This is particularly true for Indian government procurement when there are Indian-made options available.  U.S. exporters are being pressured to start manufacturing their products locally to retain market access, particularly if similar goods are not already produced in India.  As part of its self-reliance movement, India has introduced market access barriers in the form of tariffs, localization requirements, indigenous standards requirements and labelling practices, price controls, and import restrictions.

Despite these market access challenges, India continues to offer significant opportunities for U.S. companies and the potential to increase bilateral trade is enormous.  Indian conglomerates and high technology companies are generally equal in sophistication and prominence to their international counterparts, and in certain industrial sectors – such as information technology, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and engineering – are globally recognized for their innovation and competitiveness.  U.S. companies operating in India emphasize that success requires a long-term planning horizon and a state-by-state strategy to adapt to the complexity and diversity of India’s regional markets. 

Political & Economic Environment:  State Department’s website for background on the country’s political environment.