India's G20 Presidency: Nation's Priorities for Foreign Trade


The G20 is known as the Group of Twenty or an international forum comprising 19 of the world's largest economies and the European Union. Each year, one member country presides over the G20, hosts its annual summit, and shapes the agenda. In 2023, all eyes will be on India as it assumes the G20 Presidency, providing the nation with a unique opportunity to drive discussions on global economic issues, including foreign trade.

The 2023 G20 New Delhi summit is the upcoming eighteenth meeting of the G20. The 18th gathering of the G20 Leaders of State and Government will take place in New Delhi on September 9 and 10, 2023, in the Pragati Maidan. It will be the first G20 summit to be held in India as well as in South Asia. In this blog, we will discuss the impacts of the G20 on the international market. 

India's Strategic Importance in Global Trade

India's journey on the global economic stage has been nothing short of remarkable. From being primarily an agricultural economy to becoming a significant player in the world trade arena, India's growth trajectory is a testament to its resilience and adaptability. The nation has leveraged its demographic dividend, technological advancements, and entrepreneurial spirit to carve a niche in various sectors, including information technology, pharmaceuticals, and manufacturing.

According to global trade data, global merchandise trade volume is expected to grow by 3.0% in 2023, down from 3.5% in 2022. This slowdown is due to several factors, including the ongoing war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and tighter monetary policy. Despite the slowdown, global trade is still expected to grow in 2023.

As India assumes the G20 Presidency, it brings to the table its economic might and its unique perspective as a developing nation striving to bridge the gap between prosperity and inclusivity. This perspective is crucial in shaping discussions catering to the needs of advanced economies and emerging markets.

What is the role of the G20 in international trade?

The Group of Twenty (G20) is an international forum for governments and central bank governors from 19 countries and the European Union. Its primary focus is on international financial stability and economic cooperation. While the G20 does discuss a wide range of economic and financial topics, including trade, its role in international trade is significant but not its sole purpose.

It plays an important role in shaping and strengthening the global trading system. The G20 has committed to:

  • Keep markets open and refrain from raising new barriers to trade.

  • Reform the World Trade Organization (WTO) to make it more effective and inclusive.

  • Promote trade in services and investment.

  • Address the challenges of global value chains.

  • Promote fair and sustainable trade.

The G20 has also taken steps to address specific trade challenges, such as the rise of protectionism and the need to ensure that trade benefits all countries.

G20 Trade: Recent Trends and Developments

As per Export Import Data, these nations' exports and imports growth in Q1 2022 was almost 2% and 1.1 percent, respectively. 

As per Global trade data, the increase in the export and import of services within the G20 has been declining since the Q1 2020 downturn and subsequent upturn through Q1 2021. The East Asian transport sector's weakness and the general decline in service trade are the main causes of this downturn.

During the pandemic, multiple restrictions were imposed on importing and exporting services. Export restrictions were lifted, but import prohibitions are still in effect, creating the current financial crisis. 

Along with that, nine G20 economies imposed 36 service-related trade sanctions on the Russian Federation, including limits on travel, professional services, financial services, and air, land, and sea transport. Russia implemented countermeasures that affected the service trade in reaction to these restrictions.

G20 Trade in Goods for 2023:

The G20's trade in goods is expected to increase by 3.0% in 2023, down from 3.5% in 2022, as per shipment data. The ongoing conflict in Ukraine, rising prices, and tighter monetary policy are a few causes of this decline

The following are some of the key trends in G20 trade in goods for 2023:

  • The war in Ukraine is expected to impact trade flows in the region significantly. The war has disrupted trade routes and caused prices of commodities to rise.

  • Rising inflation is putting pressure on businesses and consumers, which could lead to a slowdown in demand for goods and services.

  • A tighter monetary policy is also expected to dampen economic activity and trade.

  • The digital transformation of the economy is changing how goods and services are traded. This could lead to new challenges and opportunities for businesses.

As per Global Trade Data, these are the top trading countries in the G20 for 2023:

  • China: $3.7 trillion

  • United States: $2.6 trillion

  • Germany: $1.5 trillion

  • Japan: $1.3 trillion

  • Netherlands: $950 billion

India has initiated an effort to establish relationships with each nation separately. It just completed its FTAs with Australia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Naples, Italy-India signed trade deals with the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Brazil, European Union (EU), Canada, South Korea, Australia, South Africa, Indonesia, and Mexico.

India's Priorities for Foreign Trade

Trade Diversification:

India recognizes the importance of diversifying its trade partners and reducing dependency on a few economies. During its G20 Presidency, India aims to promote dialogue on balanced trade relationships, exploring opportunities with non-traditional partners while continuing to strengthen ties with established trading partners.

Digital Trade and Innovation:

In the digital age, e-commerce and digital trade have become key drivers of economic growth. India intends to lead discussions on fostering an enabling environment for digital trade, including addressing data protection, cyber security, and intellectual property rights challenges.

Sustainable Development:

India's commitment to sustainable development aligns with the global agenda to achieve the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The G20 platform allows India to advocate for trade policies that promote environmentally responsible practices and inclusive growth.

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs):

SMEs play a vital role in driving economic growth and employment. India intends to emphasize facilitating SMEs' access to global markets through capacity-building initiatives, reduced trade barriers and simplified customs procedures.

Trade and Gender:

Promoting gender equality is a priority for India. The nation will encourage discussions on how trade policies can be designed to empower women entrepreneurs and ensure their active participation in international trade.

Collaborative Diplomacy and Inclusive Solutions

India's G20 Presidency is not just about advancing its interests; it's about championing collective progress. The nation aims to foster an environment of collaborative diplomacy where diverse viewpoints are respected, and solutions are crafted to benefit all members, regardless of their economic standing.

As the G20 members gather under India's leadership, the world watches with anticipation, hoping to witness meaningful dialogues and tangible outcomes that set the stage for a prosperous future—a future where nations unite to ensure that the benefits of international trade reach every corner of the globe.


India's G20 Presidency is a significant opportunity to shape the global trade agenda and promote inclusive growth. The country has a strong track record of economic development and has made significant progress in diversifying its trade partners. India's G20 Presidency is a chance for the country to showcase its leadership and commitment to a rules-based, fair, and inclusive global trading system. The world is anticipating how India will use its presidency to advance the interests of all G20 members and promote a more prosperous future for all.Want to learn more about India's G20 Presidency and its impact on global trade?

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