GOI-US Agreement on Quantitative Restrictions

Wednesday, January 12, 2000

The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:

The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) expresses its strong opposition to the agreement reached by the government of India with the United States on the removal of all quantitative restrictions on imports by April, 2001. It is strange that the details of the agreement has been announced by the United States Trade Representative while the BJP-led government has been silent on the matter.

The agreement is a total surrender to the United States. While the other trading partners of India, the European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada had reached an agreement with India to remove the restrictions only by 2003 under the WTO regime, the United States has succeeded in getting the Vajpayee government to remove all restrictions on imports two years earlier. Under the agreement, India will remove quantitative restrictions on 714 items by April 2000 and the rest by April next year.

By this agreement, agricultural commodities and all other consumer items can now be freely imported without any restrictions. This will have a very adverse effect on Indian farmers. Further, by removing all restrictions, the products reserved for the small-scale sector will become inoperable; in effect, there will be a dereservation of the small-scale sector.

The Vajpayee government has, keeping to its style of clandestine diplomacy with the United States, not divulged these facts before the Indian people. The Polit Bureau of the CPI(M) calls upon all sections of the people and democratic organisations to demand an explanation from the government on this capitulation.