November 10, 2019

India Opting out of RCEP is a Big Victory for Peasants & Workers

INDIA decided to opt out of the RCEP on November 4, 2019 in a significant victory for the peasants and workers. The All India Kisan Sabha, in a statement issued by on November 5, has said that this is clearly a result of the immense pressure built by massive united protests of peasants and workers across the country. It is notable that the AIKS along with the AIAWU, CITU and the All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee had massive protests with burning of effigies of the prime minister and RCEP across India on the same day in addition to series of protests earlier. Such protests with dairy farmers also getting their animals to collectorates were held in hundreds of places across the country. The electoral setbacks faced by the BJP recently have also made them wary of going ahead with the mega free trade agreement which they were enthusiastically pursuing till yesterday. The decision to opt out also comes merely a day after the Prime Minister Narendra Modi exhorted the member countries to tap vast Indian market and sought benefits for our businesses.

AIKS has been long demanding a white-paper reviewing the impact of neo-liberal economic policies, trade liberalisation and especially the India-ASEAN FTA before entering into any new agreement. It is also mandatory to discuss with states as well as place all papers for scrutiny by parliament. It is also required that indiscriminate dumping of agricultural goods must be stopped forthwith and quantitative restrictions be reinstated. We demand that immediate steps be taken in this direction.

The text of the RCEP agreement clearly mentions that India’s final decision will depend on satisfactory resolution of unresolved issues. It is well known that the main pitch of the prime minister has been for benefits to Indian businesses. Knowing the track record of the BJP government and the prime minister and betrayal of earlier promises, they will again pursue the FTA. AIKS calls upon all people to remain vigilant as well as launch an intensive campaign against unequal and unjust FTAs that seek to promote corporate interests.