Noting that India’s increasing engagement in international trade has been crucial in the country becoming a $2.5-trillion economy, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Friday that despite protectionist challenges to it from time to time, globalisation has come to stay as a durable phenomenon.
Addressing the 52nd convocation here of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT), Prabhu said for the first time since the creation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), serious challenges are being posed to global trade, without specifying the recent protectionist measures of the US.
“Nobody can turn the clock back on globalisation…it has happened. Consider that trade came first and it is much later that globalisation has developed as a concept,” he said.
“There are a lot of challenges around… For the first time since the WTO was created, there is a real challenge to the entire global trading system.
“While some countries are questioning its very rationale, some others are creating hurdles to the free flow of goods and services,” the Minister said.
He noted that more than half a century ago, India’s GDP was less than $50 billion and she had “never thought then of integrating with the rest of the world”.
“Integration of India with global trade has significantly contributed to economic growth and the result is a $2.5-trillion economy,” he said.
“India’s economic engagement with the world began with an entire change in strategy…from import substitution we moved towards an export orientation,” he added.
In March, US President Donald Trump slapped import tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminium, unfolding the prospect of an all-out global trade war. China retaliated in April imposing tariffs as high as 25 per cent on 128 American products.