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Communist Party of India (Marxist) urges caution in cutting free trade deal with EU

(Xinhua)

08:49, February 09, 2012

NEW DELHI, Feb. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Communist Party of India- Marxist (CPI-M) Wednesday raised concern about a free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the European Union (EU) as it could affect large numbers of people in India.

The CPI-M also urged the government to discuss with representatives of all sectors in the country before deciding on such an agreement and ensure transparency and full information on the issue.

"Before proceeding further, the CPI-M demands that the government should place on the floor of parliament a status report regarding the negotiations in this budget session," it said, ahead of an India-EU summit scheduled for Feb. 10.

An India-EU FTA will involve agriculture, manufacturing, services, intellectual property rights, investment and government procurement, according to official sources.

"In each of these areas, concessions granted by the Indian government can have a deep and continuous effect on the livelihood of a very large number of people," the CPI-M said.

The EU is reportedly asking for more than 90 percent of tariff lines to be opened up for tariff reduction.

Cereals, dairy, poultry, fisheries, and agro-processed goods are the major interests for EU, while retail sector, banking, financial services, insurance, postal services, and energy will also fall into EU's target areas, said CPI-M.

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