Before independence, India used to export tea, jute, cloth, leather, iron and spices. Now India exports machines, engineering goods, chemicals, chemical products, ready made garments, gems, processed foods and handicrafts.
The share of traditional exports like tea, jute and textiles in total exports was 55% in year 1950-51 and decreased to 12% in year 2003-04.
The share of manufactured goods increased from 25% in 1951 to 7.6% in 2003-04.
The chief exports of India are given below:
The following are the main exports:
(i) Apparels and Cloth:
India exports cotton cloth and apparels. Cotton cloth worth Rs. 14475 crore were exported in 2004-05. Apparels worth Rs. 27810 crore were exported in 2004-05. Main buyers are Australia, Eastern Africa, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Sudan etc.
India exports coffee to USA, Italy and Yugoslavia. Coffee worth Rs. 1009 crore was exported in 2004-05.
(iii) Cashew Kernels:
India exports cashew kernels to Russia, USA and Japan. In 2004-05 Cashews worth Rs. 2350 crore were exported.
(iv) Computer and Software:
Computer and software are exported in countries like USA, Germany, Japan, Canada, Kuwait and Sri Lanka. In 2004-05, computer software with Rs. 57050 crore were exported.
(v) Engineering goods:
India exports engineering goods to Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Nigeria etc. Engineering goods worth Rs. 76650 crore were exported in 2004-05.
Handicrafts made of cottage and small scale industries are exported to USA, Germany, Arab countries. Handicrafts worth Rs. 4205 Crore were exported in 2004-05.
(vii) Gems and Jewellery:
Gems are exported to countries like Hong Kong, U.S.A., Japan and Belgium. Gems worth Rs. 61711 crore were exported.
(viii) Jute Products:
Jute products are exported to U.S.A., Japan, Belgium, Russia, Britain and Canada. In 2004-05 Jute Products worth Rs. 980 crore were exported.
(ix) Leather and Leather products:
India exports leather, shoes and leather products to their countries. The main buyers are U.K., USA, France, Germany and Russia. In 2004-05, leather worth Rs. 10440 crore were exported.
(x) Metallic ores:
India exports ores like manganese, mica and iron to other countries. These ores are exported to USA and Japan. In 2004-05 iron ore worth Rs. 13950 crores and mica worth Rs. 65 crore and Manganese ore worth Rs. 45 crore were exported in 2004-05.
(xi) Oil Cakes:
India exports oil cakes to Japan, Netherlands and Britain. Oil cakes worth Rs. 3125 crore were exported in 2004-05.
India occupies first position in the export of Tea. Britain, U.S.A., Canada, Egypt, Iran & Japan etc. are main buyers. Tea worth Rs. 1795 crore was exported in 2004-05.
India exports tobacco to U.K., Japan, Russia and Nepal. Tobacco worth Rs. 1245 crore was exported in 2004-05.
Various spices like black pepper, Cardamon and chilies are exported. U.K., Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia are main customers. In 2004-05 spices worth Rs. 1796 crore were exported.