Economic Minister: Free Trade agreement with China cannot be implemented

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail.

Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail has stated that the Free Trade Agreement with China made during the former administration cannot be implemented.

The agreement was signed between Maldives and China in December 2017. The agreement was passed with the approval of the parliament where Fayyaz had served as a parliamentarian back then. Minister Fayyaz was a stern critic of the agreement even back then. 

The Minister was responding to a question on a radio show of state media when he reminded that he had opposed the agreement and that the parliament was not given sufficient time to review the agreement.

“Personally, I would not carry forward with the agreement as the Economic Minister. However, it cannot be said that amending the aspects of free trade in the agreement is not a possibility.” Said Minister Fayyaz before adding that the agreement was in no way something that should be signed.

The Minister said that the agreement would strain relations with another nation. The Minister said that goods could be imported cheaply by businesses due to the agreement, however, it would leave the country too dependent on a single nation. This was something that could strain relations between other nations, noted the Minister. 

“This means that we have nothing to fallback on The relation with Singapore will be gone, the relation with Dubai will be gone as well as the relation with India, which will also be gone.” Said Minister Fayyaz. 

The current administration had said that the agreement was to be reviewed and amended last year. The Minister reiterated this during the radio show where he said that reviewing the agreement was the position of the government.