Raajje | 3 May 2022
The FTA being put on hold worries the Chinese enterprises that intend to do businesses in Maldives
by Fathmath Udhma
- FTA being put on hold will make the Chines enterprises to doubt if their investment earnings can be protected in a country which is reluctant to bring the FTA into effect
- The Ambassador raised concerns that the FTA being put on hold goes against the expectations of the two countries
- Ambassador highlighted that the Free Trade Agreement was initiated to promote the trade and investment cooperation between China and Maldives
The fact that the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has not come into effect causes worries for the Chinese enterprises that intend to do businesses in Maldives, has stated the Chines Ambassador to Maldives, Wang Lixin.
Ambassador Lixin stated this in an interview with a local media outlet.
Speaking about the China-Maldives FTA, the Ambassador highlighted that the Free Trade Agreement was initiated in February 2015 to promote the trade and investment cooperation between China and Maldives.
She stated that after rounds of negotiations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, the two sides reached consensus on the Agreement and that the China-Maldives FTA was signed in Beijing in December 2017.
Highlighting that China has completed the preparations for the FTA to enter into force in July 2018, she stated that Maldives is yet to complete its domestic procedures for ratification of the FTA.
She stated that the implementation of the FTA will promote cooperation between China and Maldives in the fields of investment, tourism and fishery. However, she raised concerns that the FTA being placed on hold goes against the expectations of the two countries and that this causes Chinese enterprises who intend to do businesses in Maldives to worry.
Ambassador Lixin highlighted that this will make the Chines enterprises to doubt if their investment earnings can be protected in a country which is reluctant to make the FTA come into effect.
Ambassador Lixin, in her interview expressed hope that that relevant authorities of Maldives would take into full consideration the real benefits that will be brought to Maldives by the FTA and conclude the approval procedures as early as possible.
During this interview, the Ambassador also stated that the allegation that ‘China has grabbed the land of Maldives’ is pure slander and has no basis at all. She highlighted that the government of China has been providing financial support to the Maldives at the request of the Maldivian government, to develop the Maldivian economy and the livelihood of the Maldivians. She said that China always respects the wishes of Maldives and accommodates the demands of Maldives when carrying out financial cooperation.
The Chinese Ambassador to Maldives noted that financial cooperation between the two sides is the result of friendly consultation and that it is neither decided by one side alone nor imposed by one side on the other.
Additionally, the Ambassador stated that the talks of ‘debt trap’ set by China is groundless and a distortion of China’s foreign cooperation policy. She stated that this accusation brings shame on the Belt and Road Initiative of China.
Ambassador Lixin highlighted that developing countries have benefited a lot from the mutually-beneficial cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative, as Maldives does with its cooperation with China.
She stated that she has high hopes that the Maldivian people can see through the vicious intention of the ‘debt trap’ narrative.
Moreover, the Ambassador stated that China respects the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by the Maldivian people. She reiterated that China follows the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other countries and respects the independent choices of development paths and social systems made by the countries.
Ambassador Lixin stated that the Chinese side never pursues self-interests in Maldives. She stated that the friendly cooperation between China and Maldives never targets any third party, but only helps Maldives achieve development and progress.
She stated that any attempt to obstruct or even undermine China-Maldives relations will go against the will and interests of Maldivian people.