Commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma has told Reuters that the Doha trade impasse has been broken. This is good news for a world economy buffeted by recessionary gales.
India has emerged as an important voice in trade talks —though former commerce minister Kamal Nath often crossed the thin line that divides tough negotiations and wanton stubbornness. We hope Sharma will be more successful in pursuing Indian national interest without torpedoing progress.
The task will be even tougher now. Global trade is shrinking faster than global output—an indication of deglobalization. Protectionist sentiment is rising in many countries, especially in the US. And it is tempting to mistakenly conclude that countries are better off in their protective cocoons in turbulent times such as these.
It is thus easy to forget that the great post-World War II economic boom was built on trade. India’s growth spurt followed its closer integration with the world economy. That process should continue even in the midst of a recession.