The Left Democratic Front (LDF) government in Kerala was deliberately misleading the people on the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement, said Anand sharma, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry here on Tuesday. He was addressing media persons after launching two new clones developed by the Rubber Research Institute of India here.

Mr. Sharma said the Union government had already sent a letter to the State Chief Minister, informing him about the formation of a group of ministers to look into the concerns raised by the Kerala government. The problems in the agriculture sector in general and the plantation sector in particular, existed even before signing the ASEAN pact, he said.

He reiterated that the Union government was committed to protecting the interests of the farmers in the country. It had the capacity to intervene in times of need.

Referring to the demand for increasing the subsidy provided for rubber and tea, he said a proposal for it had been remaining with the Planning Board. The government would take up the issue immediately. A package for coffee would be announced soon.

The issue of imposing anti-dumping duty on Chinese tyres was being taken up at the appropriate level. The steep fall in exports had been arrested though no one could predict when the export level of the pre-recession period could be reached, he said.

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