Opinion | Trade liberalization folly: From high road to low road
The Modi government has thus far failed to match the economic growth record of its Congress-led predecessor, and a foolish pursuit of protectionism will make that even harder to achieve
Shortly after the Union budget, economist Pravin Krishna and I had warned in these pages of the protectionist folly of reversing a quarter-century of trade liberalisation and embarking on the path of renewed trade protection (https://goo.gl/GfH36U). Relatively few voices were calling this out at that time amid general praise for the budget. Then, on 25 July, Arvind Panagariya—one of the world’s leading trade policy economists, and until last year vice-chairperson of NITI Aayog —joined the battle, arguing in a sharply worded column in the Times of India of the damaging effects of the government’s protectionist turn. The article’s title summarised his argument well: “India’s trade policy folly: Current turn to import substitution will take economy down from turnpike to dirt road".