Chapter : 11

What are International Trade ?

Changing Patterns Of The Compo Sition Of India’s Exports

  • In recent years, a shift in the composition of goods in India's international trade has been seen.
  • Agriculture and related items have lost market share, whereas petroleum and crude products, as well as other commodities, have gained market share. The rise in petroleum prices and the expansion of India's petroleum refining capacity have boosted the percentage of petroleum products.
  • Due to heavy worldwide competition, traditional goods such as coffee, spices, tea, legumes, and so on have seen a significant drop in exports. Though floricultural items, fresh fruits, marine products, and sugar, among other things, have seen a surge.

Changing Patterns Of The Compo Sition Of India’s Import

  • India had severe food shortages throughout the 1950s and 1960s, forcing the government to import enormous amounts of food grain, capital goods, machinery, and equipment.
  • Despite all attempts at import substitution, the balance of payment was negative since imports exceeded exports.
  • Following the success of the green revolution in the 1970s, food grain imports were decreased. However, due to rising petroleum costs, the energy crisis of 1973 substituted the import of food grains with fertilisers and fuel.
  • Imports of food and related items decreased as a result of a sharp drop in edible oil imports.
  • Other key imports for India include pearls and semi-precious stones, gold and silver, metalliferous ores and waste, non-ferrous metals, and electronic products.

Seaports As Gateways Of International Trade

  • Due to its vast coastline and proximity to the sea on three sides, India has a long history of international trade via seaports.
  • Water provides a flat surface and inexpensive transportation with no impediments.
  • It's noteworthy to note that India's west coast has more seaports than its east coast.
  • Indian ports have grown as worldwide commerce gateways with the arrival of European traders and the British conquest of the country.
  • Some portions have a large sphere of influence, while others have a smaller sphere of effect.

Some of the important ports are Mumbai port, New Mangalore port, Kandala port, Marmagao port, Kolkata port, Chennai port, Turniticon port, Ennore, Vishakhapatnam, Kochhi port, etc.


Air transport is very important in a country's foreign trade. The benefits are as follows:

  • When transporting high-value or perishable items across vast distances, air transport is quite advantageous.
  • Transporting stuff takes less time.

The following are the drawbacks:

  • Air travel is quite expensive.
  • It is not designed for the carrying of large, bulky items.
  • As a result of these drawbacks, air transportation is not/less preferable for international trade than maritime methods.