The Speaker of the Parliament and President of the ruling party Mohamed Nasheed has stated that the Free trade Agreement between China and Maldives is null and void. Speaking at the parliament, the former President questioned the validity of the agreement signed between China and Maldives under President Yameen’s administration in 2017.
“Nothing has been done so far as to what’s stipulated in the agreement. So we can’t say that the agreement is valid anymore. But I think it’s important that one of these days we decide what to do with the agreement. I’m not saying we should do it right away today, but one of these days.” said Speaker Nasheed addressing to the Parliament.
President Nasheed who has always been critical of the Free Trade Agreements, has been exceptionally vocal about the agreement with China. Contrary what most economists say, President Nasheed claims that an FTA with a much larger economy like China will cause damage to the import duty dependent Maldivian economy. However, former Economic Minister and MP for Maavashu Constituency Mohamed Saeed under whose guidance the Free Trade Agreement was signed, has repeatedly denied Speaker Nasheed’s allegations on the Free Trade Agreement.
MP Saeed has on multiple occasions reiterated that under a Free Trade Agreement with multiple larger economies, Maldives will get the opportunity to buy, pack and export more than 296 varieties of seafood at 0% tariff to a 1.3 billion people market. He has also noted the inaccuracies in Speaker Nasheed’s conceptualization of a Free Trade Agreement, noting that “Markets don’t have to be ‘even’ for Free Trade, instead market’s adjust.”. The President of the Ruling Party Mohamed Nasheed has been vocally critical of China-Maldives relation with the latest being him making allegations against the Chinese built Social Housing Units in Hulhumale’ phase 2.