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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

PM ignored Kerala's fears over ASEAN pact: Achuthanandan

IANS  Kozhikode, August 13, 2009
First Published: 15:49 IST(13/8/2009) | Last Updated: 15:50 IST(13/8/2009)

Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan on Thursday once again expressed his concerns over the proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between India and ASEAN countries, and said the central government has ignored the pact-related issues the state has raised.

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"This is an agreement which will be hugely detrimental to the interests of the agriculture sector in the state. The decision by the centre to go ahead with it without looking into the fears of Kerala is not right," he told reporters in Kozhikode.

Earlier this month, Achuthanandan met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and apprised him of the apprehensions of the state over the FTA with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

During the meeting, the prime minister assured Achuthanandan that the "interests of Kerala farmers will be taken care of" and a copy of the text of the FTA would be given to the state. However, Achuthanandan said none of the promises have been kept.

"Singh agreed to give us a copy of the text of the FTA. But we haven't received it yet," he said.

The trade pact between India and the 10-member ASEAN was signed on Thursday in Bangkok.

The critics of the FTA say once signed, it would affect the agriculture sector in the state as import tariff on many agricultural produces will be eliminated.


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