THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state registered its apprehension over the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA), by organising a farmers’ convention here on Monday. Inaugurating the convention at Nishagandhi Auditorium, here Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the unilateral decision of the Centre to sign the agreement without taking the states into confidence undermines the federal nature of the country. He also alleged that the agreement will jeopardise the fiscal health of the state as it will paralyse the agrarian, dairy, and fisheries sectors.
RCEP is a pact between the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and their six FTA partners namely India, Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea which is expected to be inked in November. “A collective protest will have to emerge against this pact which is of anti-nation and against the wishes of the population. If the ASEAN agreement adversely affects the cash crops of the state, the proposed RCEP will affect the agrarian, dairy and fisheries sectors. The agreement will also upset the state’s plan to become self-sufficient in milk production,” said Pinarayi.
Meanwhile, it is learnt that a unanimous resolution is likely to get passed by the State Assembly during its sixteenth session as the CM provided a tip-off in this regard. Pinarayi said: “The Business Advisory Committee meeting of the Assembly had convened the other day. As it has not been approved the details of the same can’t be divulged. But the general opinion is to raise a collective opinion against RCEP.”