The COVID-19 pandemic has unlocked new opportunities in exports for Indian businesses, creating growth and new markets in multiple product categories. Items like Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), sanitizers, disinfectants, and test kits have seen signiﬁcant growth in value and depending on the trajectory of the pandemic in key export partner markets these products may continue to contribute to export growth in the coming years.
This article looks at 14 growing medical-related HS codes during the January-July period from the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade’s (DGFT) data bank.
The largest component of the US$ 150M in growth comes from the textile sector -- speciﬁcally a class of impregnated and coated fabrics used in the PPE equipment for medical professionals, as well as masks.
With the increased necessity for PPE among medical workers, contact tracers, and other essential workers, this category has seen almost US$ 40M growth compared to the previous.
This is followed by COVID test kits (US$ 26M), disinfectants and sanitizers (US$ 28M) and soap (US$ 12M), all key components of a robust response to the pandemic.
After reaching self-sufﬁciency with ventilators in June, with a daily manufacturing capacity of 1000, the government announced that it would begin to export the life-saving devices soon. With recent research showing the durability of the COVID-19 virus on surfaces like phones and currency notes, items like sanitizers (and the unadulterated alcohol needed to make them) and soap will continue to be relevant.
Other categories that have seen signiﬁcant growth include classes of rubber used in surgical equipment and gloves, as well as the gloves themselves, and medical equipment, as countries build up healthcare infrastructure and capacity to provide the care needed for recovery from the pandemic.
Just over a fifth of the total exports (US$114M) during the selected period went to North America, with the US contributing US$98M and Canada accounting for US$16M. In the list of India's top 20 exporters, EU countries like Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy account for US$93M, with the UK bringing that total to US$103M. Other major export destinations include India's traditional trading partners such as China, UAE, Vietnam, South Africa, Singapore, Thailand, and Turkey. Together these contributed US$103M worth of exportsduring the January-July 2020 period.
Over the same period, average monthly exports for these products are US$ 20M greater than in the previous year, and are almost double their 2019 values in June and July of this year.
Over the last four years, on average, India exported around US$ 539M annually in these selected categories. From January-July of 2020, India exported US$ 532M, and could come close to doubling the average if the pandemic worsens.
Exports for these commodities have also focused on the major manufacturing and textile hubs, with Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka accounting for almost 70% of the total value of exports. These states compete with a number of countries in the different product categories that India exports.
From Panjiva shipping data, we see that 68% of the companies exporting these selected goods are MSMEs, while 32% are large companies.
Pranjal Dubey Associate, Research firstname.lastname@example.org
Prabhod Mudlapur Summer Analyst email@example.com
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