A barrier to trade is a government-imposed restraint on the flow of international goods or services. The most common barrier to trade is a tariff—a tax on imports. Tariffs raise the price of imported goods relative to domestic goods (goods produced at home).

lthough India has steadily opened up its economy, its tariffs continue to be high when compared with other countries, and its investment norms are still restrictive. This leads some to see India as a ‘rapid globalizer’ while others still see it as a ‘highly protectionist’ economy.

Till the early 1990s, India was a closed economy: average tariffs exceeded 200 percent, quantitative restrictions on imports were extensive, and there were stringent restrictions on foreign investment. The country began to cautiously reform in the 1990s, liberalizing only under conditions of extreme necessity.  

ndia is now aggressively pushing for a more liberal global trade regime, especially in services. It has assumed a leadership role among developing nations in global trade negotiations, and played a critical part in the Doha negotiations.

Since that time, trade reforms have produced remarkable results. India’s trade to GDP ratio has increased from 15 percent to 35 percent of GDP between 1990 and 2005, and the economy is now among the fastest growing in the world.

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