Finance Minister: China Free Trade agreement not beneficial to the Maldives

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer speaking in the parliament on October 7, 2020. (Photo/Parliament)

Finance Minister Ibrahim Ameer was summoned to the parliament today for questioning. 

During the Ministerial questioning session, the Minister said that a free trade agreement signed between China and the Maldives did not seem to benefit the Maldives. 

The Minister was responding to a question by MP for Kaashidhoo regarding why the benefits from the agreement were not reaching fishermen in the Maldives. The Minister said that the agreement between China and the Maldives could not be implemented due to a lack of laws in relation to the agreement.

“Currently, we do not have an operational FTA with China. It can be operationalized by the formation of new laws by the parliament. That is the responsibility of the parliament. We do not see much benefit from this FTA.” Said Minister Ameer. 

This was reiterated by the Speaker who added that relevant laws by the two nations had to be formed for the implementation of the FTA under article 165 of the agreement. Nasheed said that “there was no Free Trade Agreement” between Maldives and China” due to the lack of these laws. 

MDP has been a stern critic of the FTA. The party said that the agreement signed was rushed and that there was a huge difference between the balance of payment which would in turn damage the Maldives. 

Nasheed himself has stated that the Parliament had to take action on the agreement. An issue regarding the agreement was proposed by MP for central Henveiru Ali Azim which was later retracted. 

MP for Kaashidhoo Abdulla Jabir repeatedly questioned whether the agreement with China was terminated. The Minister said that the government had not terminated any agreement made by the previous administration. The Minister said that the government policy was on “amending the wrongs” of the former administration. 

“It is not a policy of the current administration to repeal things done by the former administration. But we analyze and take corrective measures for things done wrong by the former administration.” Said Minister Ameer.