Telangana farmer groups demand India reject mega free trade deal


Hyderabad: The All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordinate Committee(AIKSCC) has called for a protest at all District Collectorates on October 25 against India’s participation in the international Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

The organization said the agreement between ASEAN and its free trade agreement partners that include India, will be detrimental to the interest of farmers, small traders, dairy farmers, and several other industry sectors.

At its meeting at Sundaraiah Vignyana Kendra here on Tuesday, AIKSCC leaders demanded that India withdraw from RCEP which is designed to help big corporates and undermine livelihoods of millions of farmers and others making a living from small enterprises.

Kirankumar Vissa of Rythu Swarajya Vedika said, “free trade means ‘freedom’ for MNCs but ‘bankruptcy’ for farmers, milk producers and small traders. RCEP will be a big blow to farmers’ livelihoods and small industry in India. At a time when farmers across India have been on the roads demanding remunerative prices for their crops, RCEP will bring cheap imports which will further drive down the prices.”

RCEP is a mega-free trade agreement between 16 countries – India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and 10 ASEAN countries.

The Indian government is moving ahead with the negotiations into the final stage, with the final Ministerial round planned from November 1 and the finalization for November 4 if the agreement is concluded.

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