Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Is the RCEP the TPP by another name?

The  TPP-12 corporate agenda faced opposition in most TPP countries, especially the US, where there was bipartisan opposition leading to the US withdrawal in 2017. But the Japanese and  Australian governments led the push to resurrect the TPP 11 and are pushing to repeat the same  model in other trade agreements. First in line is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). 

But is the RCEP just the TPP by another name? Read our explainer here.

Learn more about the key issues in the RCEP:

Learn more:

RCEP Ministers’ statement: no detail and differing views about likely deal by year’s end

September 4, 2018:  The public statement of RCEP Ministers from 16 countries following their meeting last week welcomed plans to achieve a package of certain targets in the negotiations by the end of 2018, but gave no details about what those targets were.

This is consistent with the secrecy and lack of accountability of these negotiations. The only hints of the issues were in media reports.

RCEP talks make small progress in Bangkok, while resistance grows

July 31, 2018: The twenty-third round of the 16-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership talks over 10 days in Bangkok managed to resolve two more chapters, one on customs procedures and trade facilitation and one on government procurement. This means only four out of twenty chapters have be agreed, but there is still pressure to complete the deal by the end of the year.

Expert study condemns secrecy as RCEP talks resume in Bangkok

July 20, 2018: The Jakarta Post reports that an expert study by the Trans National Institute has found that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade talks between 16 Asia-Pacific countries* since 2012 have failed transparency and public participation tests.  The international assessment finds there has been a failure to release draft texts, no independent social economic and environmental impact assessments and corporate interests have had privileged access to influence negotiations while members of Parliament and the public do not have such access.

India urged to protect its people and economy in RCEP talks

July 11, 2018: As the next round of negotiations in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership gets underway in Bangkok, the main dynamic is resistance by India to tariff reduction demands by Australia and New Zealand, and to medicine monopoly demands by Japan and South Korea. The RCEP involves the 10 ASEAN countries, plus China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

RCEP Ministers struggle to conclude negotiations in 2018

July 3, 2018: Last Sunday, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade ministers met in Tokyo in an effort to maintain political momentum to reach an agreement by the end of 2018. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe tried to take the initiative in the RCEP away from ASEAN as desperation deepens about the mounting trade war initiated by US President Donald Trump.

Civil society excluded from RCEP talks

4 May 2018: Today, several civil society groups have released a statement criticising their exclusion from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks in Singapore this week.  

While Transnational Corporations and business groups have been invited to discuss their interests and concerns at the Singapore round of talks, civil society groups have been silenced. The full statement, posted on bilaterals.org, is copied below. 

 

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