The Polit Bureau of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) has issued the following statement:
On Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement
The EU summit in Brussels is being attended by a high level Indian delegation led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The CPI(M) notes with concern that the negotiations on the Indo-EU FTA till date have been conducted under a veil of secrecy. Our experience in the case of the Indo-ASEAN FTA shows that the Government has, in the past, signed agreements that affect large sections of the country’s people adversely without making any efforts to consult parliament, other political parties or state governments.
There are several areas of concerns in the texts being negotiated for the Indo-EU Free Trade Agreement. It is understood that the EU is demanding measures that go beyond TRIPS, and would affect the viability of low priced generic medicines in the country. EU is also seeking accelerated access to Indian markets particularly diary and agri-business that could jeopardize livelihood among farmers, fisherfolk and small businesses. The investment and financial services obligations being demanded by the EU would have detrimental effects on domestic industry, result in giant retail chains pushing out small vendors and trades people, compromise the Government’s ability to direct credit into required areas and destabilize India’s financial sector at a time when the world is going through its worst financial crisis in recent memory. The EU has also made strong demands to open up the system of Government procurement, which if accepted, would further jeopardize the country’s faltering Public Distribution System.
The CPI(M) reiterates firmly that the Government does not have the mandate to negotiate the Indo-EU FTA without first having consulted diverse sections within India and discussed in the parliament.