KHAIWOON – Khaiwoon’s parliament today passed a bill ratifying the Gobras Peninsula Free Trade Agreement (GPFTA), completing the treaty’s ratification process and bringing the free trade agreement into effect.
Foreign ministers had signed the GPFTA in February, but ratification was required by the governments of all three member states. Alora approved the agreement in June, followed by Gobrassanya’s ratification last month. Khaiwoon’s vote had been expected sooner but was delayed due to minor objections from the opposition party KPD.
The GPFTA is a wide-reaching free trade pact that reduces travel restrictions between the three member states, liberalizes a large number of trade regulations, facilitates higher level cooperation among border security forces, and allows for the creation of special administrative regions along the Aloran-Gobrassian border, where international trade and travel will be opened up significantly.
A small anti-GPFTA rally was held outside Khaiwoon’s foreign ministry, while a somewhat larger demonstration attended by several hundred people took place in Gobras City, calling for Gobrassanya’s withdrawal from the treaty. One demonstrator described the agreement as “part of a secret plot by the Assembly of Nations to destroy Gobrassian sovereignty.”
A public opinion survey released yesterday by the Times of Khaiwoon indicated that the protestors were a small minority. According to the poll, 78% of Khaiwoonese surveyed said they favored GPFTA ratification, as did 67% of Gobrassian respondants. The Southern Uletha Economic Cooperation Council (SUECC), which supported the GPFTA negotiations, released a statement applauding Khaiwoon’s ratification and called the agreement “an important step forward for regional cooperation.”