Male’, Maldives – Economic Minister of Maldives, Fayyaz Ismail has told that even he does not support the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement (FTA) which was signed during Former Presidet Yameen’s administration stating that it would affect business relationships between Maldives and other countries.
Minister Fayyaz said that this agreement should not have even been signed in the first place considering the implications it brings to the economy of the country. He said that his personal opinion on the agreement stands as such even though there are some good aspects of the agreement.
While speaking on a local news program, minister highlighted how much he opposed the agreement as he was also a parliamentarian at the time and how much the PPM majority controlled parliament rushed to pass approve the agreement. He said that when the agreement was sent to the committee to be reviewed, they held a 10 minute meeting and passed to give committee approval to the agreement.
Minister Fayyaz stated that as things can be brought from China to Maldives without any duty fees, it would not be reasonable to take zero percent duty on Chinese products and take high percentages from imported items from other countries and that it implicates on the long trade relationships build over the years with other countries.
“Having such an agreement would impact our good trade relationships with other countries. We won’t have anything to fallback on to. Trade relation with Singapore would be lost, trade relation with Dubai would be lost, trade relation with India would be lost. Since Chinese products would be cheaper, all businesses would be bringing their products” Minister Fayya said.
He went on to add that once the current relationships gets affected due to any such reason, it would be difficult to rebuilt the strong trade relationships as before and that as long as he is the Economic Minister, he would not do such a thing.
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was approved by the parliament on November 29, 2017. After the approval a delegation of state officials including the President, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom went to China and the agreement was signed between the two countries during this official state visit.