Male’, Maldives – Chinese Ambassador to Maldives, Zhang Lizhong has responded to Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail’s comments on the China-Maldives Free Trade Agreement which was signed in 2017 during the former administration.
Ambassador Zhang said that the FTA between Maldives and China is of mutual benefit to both the countries and that it is of high-quality. His comments come after the Economic Minister Fayyaz’s comments saying that he was also against the FTA as it can cause issues with other trade partner countries of the state if implemented.
Minister Fayyaz also said that this agreement should not have even been signed in the first place and that once the current relationships gets affected due to the implementation of the Maldives-China FTA, it would be difficult to rebuild the strong trade relationships as before and that as long as he is the Economic Minister, he would not allow such a thing.
The Chinese ambassador said that the agreement conforms to international practice and will lift the economic and trade ties of the two countries to a new level. He also added that China had signed 18 FTAs with 22 partners, and no FTA has ever disrupted any country’s trade ties with its trading partners.
The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) was approved by the parliament on November 29, 2017. After the approval a delegation of state officials including the Former President, Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom went to China and the agreement was signed between the two countries during this official state visit.
However, officials of the current administration including Speaker of Parliament, Former President Mohamed Nasheed, Finance Minister Ameer and Economic Minister Fayyaz have publicly scrutinized this FTA between the two countries and stated that they would not allow this agreement to come in to force.