India has trade deficit with 80 nations, FDI jumps: Sharma

India had trade deficit with as many as 80 countries, including China, Australia and Iraq, in 2012-13, Commerce and Industry Minister informed Parliament Monday.

"India has a trade deficit with 80 countries in 2012-13. Top ten countries are China, Switzerland, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Venezuela, Nigeria, Australia, and Indonesia," Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

India's exports during 2012-13 stood at USD 300.3 billion, while imports aggregated at USD 491.9 billion. Trade deficit stood at USD 191.6 billion. 

In another written reply to the Lok Sabha, the minister informed that Foreign direct investment (FDI) in India surged 24 percent to USD 3.95 billion in the first two months of 2013-14 year-on-year, government data showed Monday.

India had received USD 3.18 billion as FDI in the April-May period of the last financial year, according to data available with the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP). This shows 24.21 percent increase in the FDI inflows year-on-year.

India received USD 82.88 billion FDI equity inflows between April 2010 and May 2013.

This included USD 21.38 billion in 2010-11; USD 35.12 billion in 2011-12 and USD 22.42 billion in the financial year ended March 31, 2013.

"Government has put in place an investor friendly foreign direct investment policy, under which FDI up to 100 percent is permitted, on the automatic route, in most sectors," Sharma said.

"FDI policy is reviewed on an ongoing basis, with a view to making it more investor friendly. Significant changes in the FDI policy regime have been made in the recent past to provide further openings for foreign direct investment in different sectors," he added.

The government recently eased FDI policy for the sectors like retail, telecom, aviation and defence.

In his reply to a question on FDI in the aviation sector, the minister said, the overseas investments would have a "positive impact by supplementing domestic capital, technology and skills of existing companies including in the aviation sector, as well as through establishment of new companies."

"Keeping in view the sensitivity of the aviation sector, investment by foreign airlines has been allowed only up to 49 percent and on the government approval route," he said.

The Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) last month cleared a 24 percent stake sale in Jet Airways to Abu Dhabi-based Ethiad Airways for USD 379 million (Rs2,058 crore). A final decision on this is now pending with the cabinet.