Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

UNCTAD Report Highlights Shifts in India’s Trade Relations


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: UNCTAD: its establishment, composition and members

Mains level: NA

What is the news?

  • The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Global Trade Report revealed an evolving trade landscape for India, marked by increased reliance on China and the European Union (EU).


  • UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.
  • It is part of the UN Secretariat.
  • The UNCTAD Conference ordinarily meets once in four years.
  • It reports to the UNGA and the Economic and Social Council, but has its own membership, leadership and budget.
  • It is also a part of the United Nations Development Group.
  • It supports developing countries to access the benefits of a globalized economy more fairly and effectively.
  • Reports published by the UNCTAD are-
  1. Trade and Development Report
  2. World Investment Report
  3. Technology and Innovation Report
  4. Digital Economy Report


  • UNCTAD’s membership consists of all 195 member states of the United Nations.
  • India is an active member. The second UNCTAD Conference took place in New Delhi, India in 1968.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  1. Key Findings on India
  • Trade Trends: India’s trade dependence on China and the EU rose by 1.2%, while reliance on Saudi Arabia declined by 0.6%.
  • Factors: This shift occurred amidst supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine conflict, leading to record-high food and fuel prices.
  • Policy Measures: Despite efforts to reduce dependency on China through initiatives like the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and Quality Control Orders (QCOs), India’s trade relations with China strengthened.
  1. Insights from the Report
  • Stable Proximity: Geographical proximity of international trade remained relatively constant, indicating minimal near-shoring or far-shoring trends.
  • Political Proximity: However, there was a noticeable rise in the political proximity of trade, favouring countries with similar geopolitical stances.
  • Concentration of Trade: Global trade increasingly favored major trade relationships, although this trend softened towards the end of 2023.
  • Sectoral Trends: Most sectors experienced a decline in trade value, except for pharmaceuticals, transportation equipment, and electric cars.
  • Global Forecast: Global merchandise trade is expected to contract by 5% in 2023, with services trade projected to gain 8%.
  1. Impact of Russia-Ukraine Conflict
  • Shifts in Trade: The ongoing conflict led to a surge in Russia’s trade dependence on China by 7.1% while decreasing reliance on the EU by 5.3%.
  • Oil Trade: Russian oil shifted from the EU to China and India, with China becoming a significant trade partner for Russia.
  • US Trade Dynamics: The US managed to reduce reliance on China by 1.2% in 2023, while increasing dependence on the EU and Mexico.


The Global Infrastructure Facility is a/an: (2017)

(a) ASEAN initiative to upgrade infrastructure in Asia and financed by credit from the Asian Development Bank.

(b) World Bank collaboration that facilitates the preparation and structuring of complex infrastructure Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) to enable mobilization of private sector and institutional investor capital.

(c) Collaboration among the major banks of the world working with the OECD and focused on expanding the set of infrastructure projects that have the potential to mobilize private investment.

(d) UNCTAD-funded initiative that seeks to finance and facilitate infrastructure development in the world.


Practice MCQ:

With reference to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), consider the following statements:

1. It is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly.

2. It is part of the UN Secretariat.

3. India has never hosted the UNCTAD Conference.

How many of the above statements is/are correct?

(a) One

(b) Two

(c) Three

(d) None

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