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Come to Parliament before clinching India-EU FTA: CPI(M)

Press Trust of India

Come to Parliament before clinching India-EU FTA: CPI(M)

27 September 2008

New Delhi (PTI) The CPI(M) today asked the government not to make any commitment on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) at the Monday’s India-European Union Summit in Marseille before discussing the issue in Parliament.

The party Politburo alleged that developed economies are pushing trade liberalisation agenda through FTAs which can "hardly offer" a level-playing field for countries like India.

"It is a matter of serious concern that while the EU has already discussed the issues related to the proposed FTA, the Indian government is yet to share the details of the negotiations with the Parliament and people.

"The draft proposals, existing negotiating positions and studies conducted by the government on the FTA should be placed and debated in Parliament before the government initiates any further step," CPI(M) said in a statement.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will head the Indian delegation at the ninth India-EU Summit at Marseille on Monday where the FTA is high on the agenda.

The CPI(M) claimed that though India was not required to make any commitments in areas like competition policy, intellectual property rights and public procurement in the Doha Round of WTO, the issues "seems to be part" of the FTA.

Pointing out that the issue of EU providing huge agricultural subsidies are not being discussed at the summit, the Politburo said, "such FTAs can turn out to be much more damaging for the livelihoods of our farmers, workers and other sections of the working people than the WTO agreements."