Of late, the United States of America (USA) is flexing its muscle to win back its hegemony over global trade. But winning her domination back cannot be achieved without a fight. American president Donald Trump first targeted Mexico, China, Japan, Europe and Canada. Now it is ending India’s preferential trade treatment under which India has remained the biggest beneficiary of the Generalised System of Preference programme. Trump wants to pressurise India in order to force it to give US goods more access in its big domestic market.

Should Trump’s announcement in this regard be seen as opening up of a new front in the on-going trade war? Probably yes, for India will not sit silently against this hostile move.

Trump forgets that opening too many fronts in a battle proves disastrous. Though he’s fighting for US manufacturers, he ignores that other actors are waiting silently to fill up the vacuum that the US is creating by entering into trade wars with one country after another.

Whether Trump’s move will benefit the US industry or not, only time will tell us. The chances are that the over protectionist policies that Trump wants to implement will backfire. Nevertheless, what is clear is that Trump is using trade as an all-purpose tool for his policy goals. Trump revoking one agreement after another agreement with country after country is challenging the post-Cold War Washington consensus that free trade under globalisation benefits all.

The prospects of Trump’s success in his endeavour of making America great again through trade wars are not difficult to gauge. Countries like China and India cannot be maimed easily. China has reciprocated every US move in the trade war. India too, instead of acceding to Trump’s new action, is thinking of imposing higher duties on more than 20 US goods, ensuring a lose-lose situation for both sides. In all, if this is a trade war, the US’s new move is akin to shooting itself on the foot.