South Asia News

Maldives to pull out of FTA with China: Nasheed

The new government in the Maldives will pull out of a free trade agreement (FTA) it signed with China, former President Mohamed Nasheed said on Monday. It was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the world's second biggest economy, he explained.
Nov 20, 2018
MALE: The new government in the Maldives will pull out of a free trade agreement (FTA) it signed with China, former President Mohamed Nasheed said on Monday. It was a mistake for the tiny nation to strike such a pact with the world's second biggest economy, he explained.
 
"The trade imbalance between China and the Maldives is so huge that nobody would think of an FTA between such parties," said Nasheed, leader of the Maldivian Democratic Party, which leads the ruling federal alliance elected to power in elections on September 23. "China is not buying anything from us. It is a one-way treaty," said Nasheed.
 
Shortly after he was sworn in on November 17 as the new President of the nation of atolls in the Indian Ocean, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said the state’s coffers had been "looted" and warned that the Maldives was in great financial difficulty after racking up debt with Chinese lenders.
 
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi was the only leader to attend Solih’s inauguration, in a clear signal of India’s support for the new regime in the Maldives. Modi promised all possible assistance to the new government.
 
Nasheed, now an advisor to Solih, said parliament would not pass the changes required by law for the zero tariffs agreement in the FTA to come into force.
 
Nasheed’s statement is another signal of a popular vote of no-confidence in how China aligned itself with Abdulla Yameen, the defeated president who openly sided with Beijing to the detriment of New Delhi’s interests in the Maldives.

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