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In the United States I see significant quantities of manufactured good imports made in Taiwan, Japan, China and Korea. However, there seem to be relatively few imports from India. Why is this?

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India has significantly worse physical/logistics infrastructure than China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan, so it is difficult to produce goods in India because it's difficult to move supplies and product around the country. This, coupled with the comparatively higher complexity of dealing with government bureaucracy, makes it challenging to manufacture products in India for export.

Here is the World Bank's 2014 Logistics Performance Index for the countries, which illustrates the significant competitive disadvantage India has compared to China and others.

LIP score

India still has a low-cost workforce, so they do export items where cost is very important (e.g. clothing, sneakers). More importantly, India exports services (call centers, software offshoring) because it's much easier to lay down fiber optic cable than to build a railroad so certain cities (Hyderabad, Mumbai, Bangalore) have developed strong export services industries which do not need to depend on a lot of outside physical infrastructure to create viable exports.

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  • $\begingroup$ As a side note, I was helping work out a cost/benefit of analysis for a project that was considering exporting from India. The complications from government, transportation made it not viable compared to China, or even expanding operations in the US. (also the work would require at least one expat and not many people want to move near industrial zones in India) $\endgroup$ – serakfalcon Feb 23 '15 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ @serakfalcon interesting data.. You raise an important issue, which is that the cost of poor infrastructure impacts more than just the circulation of physical goods and supplies. In China, Taiwan, and Korea, governments worked to create schooling, housing and recreational infrastructure inside industrial zones or near them. This help attract labor force to the area, which is another thing that India foresakes by having weak infrastructure. $\endgroup$ – tohster Feb 23 '15 at 6:07

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