Emerging from the grip of a crippling recession, world trade is set to surge by 13.5% in 2010, with a resurgent India contributing over half a trillion dollars to global commerce for the first time in history.
With global trade coming out of a "painful economic recession" in 2009, India's merchandise engagement with the world -- both imports and exports -- picked up pace in the 2010-11 fiscal after a rather lacklustre performance in the previous year.
The value of India's inbound and outbound trade in goods is set to touch USD 550 billion in the 2010-11 fiscal, with imports expected to touch USD 350 billion, as against USD 288 billion in the 2009-10 fiscal.
"Following a faster-than-expected recovery in global trade flows so far in 2010, WTO economists have revised their projection for world trade growth in 2010 upward to 13.5%," a WTO report said.
Making out a strong case against protectionism, World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy said: "This surge in trade flows provides the means to climb out of this painful economic recession and can help put people back to work. It underscores, as well, the wisdom governments have shown in rejecting protectionism."
India stood out among other countries during the year in terms of its open trade policies, as is evident from the huge trade deficit of USD 120-130 billion projected for the current financial year.
The restrictive trade policies adopted by India's larger neighbour, China, stood out in sharp contrast. The past year witnessed an escalating currency war between the US and China, with Washington urging Beijing to allow the yuan to rise, claiming that the Chinese currency was artificially depressed in order to create an unfair trade advantage.
However, the US has been accused of doing the same thing, following an announcement in November that the Federal Reserve will purchase Treasury Securities to infuse USD 600 billion into the struggling economy by June, 2011. This would be achieved by printing more dollar bills, thereby lowering the value of the currency.
What is more, the US has taken an increasingly protectionist stance against outsourcing to countries like India, with the state of Ohio imposing a ban on state departments awarding work orders to overseas IT companies. Furthermore, a controversial legislation to beef up security along the US-Mexico border by hiking the cost of visas sought after by overseas professionals also attracted criticism.