What do Indians buy from Switzerland – India’s top import destination in Europe?

Export growth to the European Union dipped sharply in the financial year ended March 2012, even as imports continued grow fast, according to data for the financial year.

Interestingly, the biggest buyer of Indian goods in Europe last year was not the United Kingdom or Germany, but the relatively small Netherlands. Out of a total of $57.8 billion of exports to the EU last year, $9.1 billion was destined for Netherlands.

The United Kingdom was second in attracting exports from India, and bought $8.6 billion worth of goods from India and was followed closely by Germany and Belgium. (See chart.)

Again, on the imports front, it was a small country that led from the front – Switzerland. India bought goods worth $32.3 billion from Switzerland, the highest of any country in Europe last year. It was not clear what the commodity was that drove Swiss exports to India.

What is interesting about Switzerland’s performance is the speed with which its exports to India have grown in the last two years. For example, in FY-10, its exports to India were just $14.7 billion. The next year, in 2010-11, exports to India jumped to $24.8 billion and in the last year, they again rose, by 30%, to $32.3 billion. In comparison, Switzerland imported just $1.1 billion from India during last year.

Switzerland was followed by Germany, which exported about $15.7 billion worth of goods to India, and by Belgium. (See chart.)

In all, India imported $91.5 billion worth of goods in the country, about a fourth of the total. In comparison, India exported only $58.8 billion.