Trading places

Donald Trump’s ‘America first’ stance gives leaders like Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping to work for free trade because of its benefits to their countrymen


India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China President Narendra Modi. Photo: Reuters
India Prime Minister Narendra Modi and China President Narendra Modi. Photo: Reuters

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said during his recent visit to Japan earlier this month that it is his resolve to make India the most open economy in the world. Chinese President Xi Jinping said in Peru over the weekend that China would take the lead to maintain an open global economic order. These statements come at a time when the election of Donald Trump as the next US president as well as the rise of protectionist sentiment in several other developed countries have led to fears that protectionist walls will impede free trade in the years ahead.

The US took the lead in ushering in the current age of globalization. India and China were major beneficiaries. The Trump campaign successfully reached out to middle America with the resonant narrative that its denizens have suffered because of free trade. It is now up to leaders such as Modi and Xi to work for free trade because of its benefits to hundreds of millions in their countries. The political dynamics of globalization have completely changed.

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