Why farmer protest against RCEP?

Under the banners of Kisan Sangharsh Committee, the scores of farmers have executed a protest at Amritsar-Delhi Highway on Sunday against the Centre’s conclusion to enlist a free trade agreement with 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries and 6 largest economies in the world under Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. The provision of tariff cutover will surely impact the financial conditions of the farmers of India, said the antagonists.

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They requested the ministry to play hard ball and quit the agreement. The highway was jammed by the poor peasants for about 30 long minutes. Sarwan Singh Pandayer, General Secretary Punjab Kissan Sangharsh Commetti Punjab said, “Already we are not getting right amount for our production.

Now, if the Modi Ministrty enters into this deal with RCEP and grants the import of milk and seeds without putting any excise on it, it will certainly affect our commerce. It will be a big loss to sugarcane plants, if they start its import. Hence, we are not in favour of India becoming a unit of final RCEP agreement. Though the Union Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday has affirmed that India will not sign anything with RCEP against national interest. Other industrial fields are supporting this India’s deal with RCEP Free Trade Agreement. Pharmaceutical and textiles areas are not opposing RCEP FTA. He also added that we will be more careful of issues of few areas related to China in the RCEP FTA. The RCEP accommodating the 10 ASEAN countries is an economic cooperation agreement that is being negotiated by 16 countries in the world.

A protest against the inclusion of dairy in the Union Government’s proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with Australia, New Zealand and other nations was executed by Office-holders of DKMUL (Dakshina Kannada Co-operative Milk Producers Union Limited). To oppose the move of the Union government, DKMUL has also joined the Karnataka Milk Federation and other milk cooperatives. As DKMUL president Raviraj Hegde said in front of the dissidents that most of the people related to dairy commerce in our country are landless and have small land holdings which are being assisted by the milk cooperatives.

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We have restricted other countries for bringing their dairy products in our country by putting 20% import duty on the dairy products. Hegde told that Union government intends to include dairy as a product for free trade among India and other countries in the proposed RCEP. It might spell a destruction for DKMUL and other milk cooperatives, he said. Therefore, director of DKMUL Haddur Rajeeva Shetty said that the centre should take the decision in the interests of the farmers and exit the deal of dairy products from RCEP.

What is RCEP?

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership is a propounded Free Trade Agreement between the ten representative states of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries – Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and its six FTA associates – China, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand. The launch of RCEP agreement took place at ASEAN conference in Phnom Penh, Cambodia in November, 2012. It will become the world’s largest commerce association in terms of population with around 3.5 billion people.

The RCEP countries elucidates almost a third of world GDP and dominate 30% of global trade. A unique relevance of the enthusiastic RCEP development is that it consists of three largest economies of Asia – China, India and Japan. This trade treaty holds two of the fastest growing economies in the world – India and China which have the capability to do the business more effectively in future.

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What is RCEP deal?

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership has been arbitrating the trade pact among the 16 countries. India’s trade agreements have not turned out well and is not a part of any mega trade treaty. China which is a part of RCEP is a segment of mega trade pact and its imports will become a bigger complication if a deal is signed. In the RCEP Ministerial took place last week in Bangkok, the member countries committed to the idea of terminating this trade treaty by November. RCEP will cover almost all the areas related to the development of the economy of the country such as trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues.

Forum of Trade Justice declares that the approach to medicines and seeds will be affected under this deal by raising the standards of intellectual property rights. According to the Trade group, this deal will make investors robust and people weakened.

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