India's exports grew 3.49 per cent in December to USD 26.3 billion, while imports dipped 15.25 per cent.
Imports last month were USD 36.4 billion.
However, growth in exports was slower than in November, when outbound shipments rose 5.86 per cent.
Commerce Secretary S R Rao said export growth slowed mainly because of a drop in petroleum exports.
"It is only one product group which has contributed to (slower growth in exports) and that is petroleum products," he told reporters here.
There was an unplanned maintenance shutdown at Reliance Industries, one of the country's largest exporters, Rao said.
However, lower imports helped to narrow the trade deficit to USD 10.1 billion in December compared with USD 17.5 billion in the same period of 2012.
Gold and silver imports in December dropped to USD 1.77 billion from USD 5.6 billion a year earlier, although they were higher than USD 1.05 billion in November.
For the April-December period, exports aggregated USD 230.3 billion and imports USD 340.3 billion while the trade deficit stood at USD 110 billion.