FAFTA braces for battle against Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

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A farmers’ gathering in India

Hans India | 16 June 2017

FAFTA braces for battle against Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

A coalition of farmers unions, trade unions and civil society has chalked out a strategy to wage fight against Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement. The Forum Against Free Trade Agreement (FAFTA), which met here on Wednesday, expressed fear that India was prepared to surrender to international market forces which enjoyed a sort of immunity under WTO. The Forum, on Thursday, kick-started its campaign against the RCEP meet, which is scheduled to be held from July 17 to 28 at HICC in the City.

Highlights:

  • A coalition of farmers unions, trade unions and civil society holds a meeting and decides to wage fight against Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
  • Speakers describe the government plans to ratify the agreement as nothing surrendering country sovereignty to international market forces

During the meeting, experts Shalini Bhutani and Afsar Jafri explained the implications of RCEP and other free trade agreements on India. They said these FTAs were more dangerous than World Trade Organisation (WTO) as they would deprive the livelihoods of common people and endanger the economic sovereignty of India.

“Andhra Pradesh is already facing a legal challenge by a foreign investor under a bilateral investment treaty (BIT) with UAE signed in 2013. Under that BIT the investor is allowed to sue the government for loss of intended profits from investment. The UAE investor has filed a claim for US$ 44.71 million. Similar investor protector provisions are also proposed in the RCEP,” said Shalini Bhutani, who is leading the FAFTA.

Speaking to media persons on Thursday, Shalini explained that RCEP is one of the three largest ‘mega regional’ FTAs being negotiated in the world. Apart from India, RCEP included economic powerhouses like China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand along with the 10 ASEAN countries of South-East Asia (Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei, Myanmar and Philippines).

source: Hans India