The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
Exim Policy Against Country's Interests
The export-import policy announced by the BJP-led government for the year 2000-01 was preordained given the agreement with the United States last December for doing away with quantitative restrictions on imports. As per this agreement, restrictions on imports of 714 items have been removed. For another 700 odd items, the restrictions will be removed by April next year. This is a policy which is against the interests of the farmers, workers and small-scale and medium entrepreneurs.
The opening of imports affects a wide-range of consumer goods and agricultural and dairy products like wheat flour and milk. Already by putting milk products on the Open General Licence (OGL) the price of milk has crashed for the milk producers.
Domestic industry is going to suffer by the opening of the floodgates for imports. 58 items belonging to the small-scale sector is now being put on the OGL. This has effectively dismantled the reservation for the small-scale sector.
The claim that Indian domestic industry and agriculture will be protected by anti-dumping measures is specious given the experience that existing anti-dumping provisions are not effective.
The policy of largescale import liberalisation has not helped the country as exports continue to grow sluggishly. The proposal to set up special economic zones has not been well thought out. It will lead to largescale misuse and circumvention of the existing laws. Though the policy statement assures that labour laws will be in force in these zones, the experience of the export processing zones is that the authorities suspend all labour laws. The Polit Bureau of the CPI (M) warns the government that anti-labour practices will not be tolerated.
The exim policy will further distort the course of industrial development in the country and cater to the domestic consumption needs of the affluent sections. The export-import policy is clearly meant to serve the multinational companies and the interests of the rich nations led by the United States.