Experts warn India must keep agriculture out of RCEP trade deal

10 December 2018: Food and agriculture specialist Devinder Sharma warns in The Tribune last week that the Indian Government must keep agriculture out of RCEP trade deal.

The RCEP trade deal currently being negotiated between 16 countries including India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the ten ASEAN south East Asian countries, covers half of the world’s population. It has faced significant resistance from public health groups, unions, other public advocacy groups, and even domestic industry in India, where the government last week announced a study to analyse the impacts of the RCEP.

Sharma warns that the RCEP deal will lead to a flood of cheaper food imports to India, and is particularly risky at a time when Indian agriculture is in crisis.

While large companies from wealthier countries can  profit from such agreements, studies show that they turn “a majority of developing countries into net food importers, destroying in the process millions of farm livelihoods,” writes Sharma. He asserts that the RCEP stands to have huge impacts on India’s dairy farming, food sovereignty, farming interests and levels of unemployment.

Tell the Australian trade Minister your concersn about the RCEP here.