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Maldives begins free trade pact discussion with China

Haveeru Online, Maldives

Maldives begins free trade pact discussion with China

By Abdullah Jameel and Fathmath Shaahunaz, Haveeru Online

21 December 2015

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Economic minister Mohamed Saeed speaks at Maldives-China free trade pact discussion held in Bandos Island Resort on Dec 21, 2015. HAVEERU PHOTO/NISHAN ALI

The two-day discussion on establishing the Maldives-China free trade pact began early Monday in Bandos Island Resort.

The discussion is being held under the MOU regarding free trade signed between the two countries last September.

Heading the discussion for the Maldives is economic minister Mohamed Saeed, and the director general of the Ministry of Commerce, Hongxia Dong for China.

In his inauguration speech, Minister Saeed guaranteed on behalf of the government to work their best to proceed successfully with the discussions.

“Pact or not, the Maldives and China have developed strong economic bonds,” he declared. He added that the two nations will deliberate on how to proceed following the discussions.

According to the minister, the morning session of the discussion will focus on the importance of the pact and the demands of both nations, after which the framework of the agreement and proceedings will be discussed.

The afternoon session focus on statistics and strategies on exchange of information.

The minister elaborated that the issue of reducing traffic and settling a date and location for the second discussion, which is to take place in two months, will be discussed on the second day.

The Maldives-China free trade pact marks the first such agreement between the Maldives with another country. The Maldives had previously signed a free trade agreement with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) — the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) — but it is a regional agreement.

The government had earlier said that the free trade pact will be signed within the next year.