Tomar tells Commerce Ministry to protect farmers’ interest in RCEP trade pact

NEW DELHI, Oct 8: Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar on Tuesday said he has communicated to his commerce counterpart to protect the farmers’ interest in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade agreement whose negotiations are in the final stages.
The RCEP is a proposed free-trade agreement (FTA) between the 10-member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and its six FTA partners — China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
“Farmers’ interest is our priority. We have communicated to the Commerce Ministry to keep in mind the farmers’ interest,” Tomar told reporters when asked about the country’s farm sector concerns in the proposed RCEP.
He, however, did not share about concerns or possible impact of the proposed RCEP on local farmers.
The agriculture ministry has made a detailed presentation to Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, who is going to visit Bangkok later his week for the RCEP ministerial meet.
However, the dairy industry has demanded the Government to exclude dairy products from the purview of the proposed trade pact to save the domestic dairy farmers.
The RCEP negotiations started in 2012. Pressure is mounting on India for early conclusion of the proposed trade pact. (PTI)