Bangkok: Left parties ask Modi not to sign RCEP, demand discussion in Parl

Bangkok: Left parties ask Modi not to sign RCEP, demand discussion in Parl

Agency News

New Delhi, Nov 2: With Prime Minister Narendra Modi having reached Bangkok for negotiations on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal, the Left parties on Saturday urged the government to not to sign the agreement hastily and demanded to put the draft of it before the ensuing session of the Parliament.

"The secretive and undemocratic manner in which the BJP government is conducting these negotiations for RCEP without involving the stakeholders and without consulting the states and Parliament is highly objectionable", said Polit Bureau of CPI(M) in a statement.

The CPI(M) pointed out that the last-minute negotiations are in progress to conclude the RCEP, a mega Free Trade Agreement (FTA)being negotiated between ASEAN, China, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, South Korea and India.

"If India chooses to join this FTA, it will harm India's manufacturing and agriculture and widen the country's current account deficit. This will in turn have serious adverse consequences on employment and people's well being", the party said. The CPI(M) also said due to previous government's decisions to prematurely open up the Indian
economy, India's trade deficit has seen a steady increase and stands currently at 184 billion dollar.

"The present proposed FTA would exacerbate it further as it faces a deficit with almost all its existing FTA partners. At a time when Indian manufacturing is already dealing with a slowdown and rural distress is continuing unabated, eliminating import duties, in addition to making pledges on investment, Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs), services and e-commerce under RCEP will completely constrain the government's ability to form an effective policy for revival of manufacture and for overcoming the ongoing agrarian crisis", the Left party further said.

In a separate statement, the national secretariat of the CPI also expressed concern at the ongoing negotiations on RCEP.

"There is no transparency in the entire process of negotiations. The BJP government controlled by RSS has not been taking the domestic stakeholders into confidence. There is no consultation either with the state governments or there was any discussion in Parliament", it said.

The CPI pointed out that at a time, when the economic crisis is deepening in every sphere of India's economy, particularly in the agrarian sector, the RCEP the way it is being negotiated, will have adverse impact on our dwindling economy.

The Left parties extended its support to the all-India protest on November 4 called by Kisan organisations against the proposed RCEP.

The main Opposition party, the Congress has called for a nationwide agitation against the signing of RCEP. (UNI)