The Finance Minister of India, Mr. Arun Jaitley, who is attending ‘Asia’s Economic Outlook: Talking Trade’ in Japan right now, recently said that, Protectionism can blunt US firms’ efficiency … US firms may become sluggish if cheaper products and efficient services are cut off to them due to protectionist policies … India has so far not been impacted by US’ protectionist overtones and hoped nations will realise that free trade is the only way forward.
Mr. Jaitley is right as long as he is saying that protectionism will blunt US firms’ efficiency, but he is wrong in applying his analysis only to the US firms. Protectionism will not only blunt US firms’ efficiency but also Indian firms which are right now enjoying heavy protection from Mr. Jaitley’s own BJP government! Since coming to power the present government of India, whose finance minister is Mr. Jaitley, has imposed heavy protectionist measures on many industries e.g., steel. His government has recently announced that the domestic firms will be forced to buy and use only domestically produced steel for the government infrastructure projects! Jaitley’s colleague the Road, Transport and Highways minister Mr. Nitin Gadkari recently said that India is planning to reduce its oil import to zero in near future!
If US firms will suffer under Mr. Trump’s protectionist policies then Indian firms will also suffer under Mr. Modi and Jaitley’s protectionist policies. Mr. Jaitley must understand that pointing out others’ wrongs is not going to make his wrong, right! Before advising others Mr. Jaitley should start walking the talk and remove all protectionist measures in India.