India: Looking Beyond Outsourced Labor

India: Looking Beyond Outsourced Labor

In recent years, people are likely to associate India as a growing center for outsourced labor. When you need to contact support for your computer, credit card account or other product, you are likely patched through to a call center in India. It is not unusual for Western companies to employ cheaper labor overseas, but it also wouldn’t be fair to dismiss India as a nation that relies solely on supporting global companies in this manner. With a gross domestic product estimated at $1.5 trillion, India ranks among the top ten global economies and enjoys healthy product trade relationships throughout Asia.

Historically, people may identify India as a third-world nation. Often the media presents images of the populous lower class, though in recent years India has emerged as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world – it stands as part of the BRICS groups of rising nations in global trade, working to remain strong despite recent financial problems and natural disasters that threatened agricultural production.

Major Exports of India

India counts among its top trading partners the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Germany, China, and the United States. The majority of exports are shipped to the US and UAE, with China a distant third. While the bulk of India’s agricultural production remains domestically distributed, the country still has much to offer for trade. Exports most in demand include:

Petroleum Products – Refining of crude oil from the Middle East and consequent exporting of products accounts for about fifteen percent of India’s total GDP.

Iron and Steel – Steel and iron production has been part of the Indian economy since the early 20th century, before their independence from Great Britain. Coupled with iron ore mining, this industry comprises a large percentage of the nation’s exports.

Vehicles – While not a well-known automobile in the United States, the Indian-made Tata Nano is considered one of the least expensive models in the automotive market. The growing interest in fuel-efficient cars may make this a hot commodity in the future.

Apparel – After agriculture, textiles offer one of the largest sources of employment in India. Approximately one-fifth of the nation’s total exports are apparel-based.

Major Imports of India

As a largely agricultural nation, India naturally relies upon major import partners like China and Saudi Arabia for the raw materials needed to produce what is exported. Crude oil, machinery for refinement, and fertilizer for crops rank among the highest demand imports.

One can expect to see India grow in domestic industries like telecommunications and textile and food processing shortly. With a labor force approximately half a billion people strong, India’s influence on global trade will leave a lasting impact.