Economy

CPI (M) wants white paper on FTA with ASEAN

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Criticising the Centre for signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the CPI(M) on Friday asked the Congress-led UPA government to take steps to protect the interests of those sections that would be affected by the pact. It demanded a White Paper on the FTA’s impact on the Indian economy and a detailed discussion in Parliament.

The FTA in goods signed by Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma in Thailand on Thursday reflected the misplaced priorities of the Congress-led government at the time of global recession and worsening agrarian situation. It had been signed without any discussion in Parliament, the CPI(M) said in a statement.

“This FTA would gradually eliminate tariff, starting from January 2010, in 80 per cent of the goods that are traded between India and the ASEAN countries. Such across-the-board elimination of customs duties would be harmful for domestic industries, agriculture and fisheries, which have already been adversely affected by the slowdown. This would have an adverse impact on the economies of the States, particularly Kerala,” the statement pointed out.

The CPI(M) said the Centre’s claim that excluding some items from the list of tariff concessions would address the sensitivities in agriculture and other sectors did not hold much water. “The sharp cuts in import duties in the future would affect the livelihood of a very large number of people in the country,” it said.

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Printable version | Jan 19, 2020 9:21:07 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/CPI-M-wants-white-paper-on-FTA-with-ASEAN/article16874990.ece

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