Former Minister of Economic Development and Vice President of opposition party People's National Congress (PNC), Mohamed Saeed, declared on Saturday that the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed between the governments of China and Maldives "is not dead".
Saeed made this statement in response to the remarks made by Speaker of Parliament and former President Mohamed Nasheed, who claimed that "the FTA is dead" in an interview given to Indian media outlet WION, during his ongoing official visit to the neighbouring country.
"[The FTA] is not proceeding. It has to come to the parliament first for it to be implemented and I can't see how our parliamentarians now would have the appetite to do that", Nasheed had said.
However, Saeed noted that he signed the FTA in 2014, during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration, with his counterpart. The agreement was reviewed and passed by the Parliament three years later.
Saeed, who currently also represents Maavah constituency in Parliament, claimed that Nasheed was delivering such remarks for his "own political merits" and called on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid to condemn such remarks.
The current administration has announced that the FTA is currently being reviewed.
Minister of Economic Development Fayyas Ismail had formerly expressed concerns over the FTA agreement last May.
"The main problem is the agreement proceedings and some issues related to it", he had said.
Former President Yameen's administration asserted that signing the agreement with China was a notable progression for the fisheries and tourism sector, adding that the FTA allowed Maldives to trade fish products in the world's largest consumer market without any imposed duty.