CPI-M demands white paper on India-ASEAN trade pact

CPI-M demands white paper on India-ASEAN trade pact

The CPI-M also criticised the government for signing the agreement without any discussion in parliament.

"The FTA in Goods with the ASEAN signed by the Indian Commerce Minister in Thailand reflects the misplaced priorities of the Congress-led government at a time of global recession and a worsening agrarian situation," the CPI-M politburo said in a statement here.

It added: "The FTA has been signed without any discussion in the Indian parliament about its possible impact."

The CPI-M demanded that the government should immediately take appropriate measures to protect the interests of those sections, who would be affected by this agreement.

"It (the government) should bring out a white paper explaining the impact of this agreement on the Indian economy and discuss the issue in parliament," the CPI-M said.
Eliminating the tariff in 80 percent goods traded between India and the ASEAN countries would be harmful for domestic industries, agriculture and fisheries, which have already been adversely affected by the economic slowdown, the politburo said.

"This would have an adverse impact on the economies of the states, particularly Kerala," said the statement.

The CPI-M said the claim made by the government 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," the CPI-M said.