Opposition, farmer-outfits claim victory after India decides not to join RCEP

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on November 04, 2019

Swaraj India President Yogendra Yadav and members of the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee protest against the RCEP deal in New Delhi on Monday   -  Shahbaz Khan

Earlier, protests were held in various cities against the proposed deal

Opposition parties and farmers’ organisations on Monday claimed victory after the Centre decided not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Welcoming the decision, they said the country will not lose in any manner by taking such a step, instead it will help the farmers and small-scale producers.

The Congress claimed that a forceful opposition by them and their leader Rahul Gandhi ensured that the BJP-led Centre backed down from “bartering the interests of farmers, dairy producers, fishermen, small and medium businesses at the altar of political expediency. “A victory for all fighting for protecting national interests,” said party’s media in-charge Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Surjewala said farmers and MSMEs had genuine and unaddressed concerns about circumvention of Rules of Origin to dump Chinese goods; absence of safeguards to prevent against import surges at the cost of domestic industry and no assurance on market access for service and IT industry.

Earlier in the day, a joint meeting of 13 Opposition parties had urged the Centre to go slow on RCEP. “We were not against the RCEP when we were in power. But like in the case of GST, where the compounder did the surgery when the doctor was transferred, on RCEP too the present government made changes to the original draft,” said Opposition leader in the Rajya Sabha, Ghulam Nabi Azad, after the meeting.

The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee, which held a protest meeting here on Monday, said while the anti-RCEP stand of farmers, workers, small traders and several political parties forced the Centre to reconsider signing the agreement, the danger of RCEP continues as it is stated to the concluded in February 2020.

“We will not accept any further negotiations by the government, and this is not just about RCEP but other Free Trade Agreements too, including the one being negotiated with the US,” said Yudhvir Singh of the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movements.

Published on November 04, 2019

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