Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)

Sign the PETITION to the Senate against damaging clauses in RCEP

The RCEP is a massive trade deal being negotiated in secret between Australia, New Zealand, China, South Korea, Japan and the ten-member countries of ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations). The proposed RCEP would cover 2.2 billion people. India left the negotiations in November 2019, but may re-join before it is signed in late 2020.

We need to tell all political parties in the Senate not to agree to damaging clauses in the negotiations.

Sign the PETITION to the Senate against damaging clauses in the proposed RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and in favour of enforceable workers' rights and environmental standards.

You can print a hard copy of the Petition here, and donate to the campaign here.

See more information, including a short printable flyer here, and a longer explainer here

The RCEP: bigger and more secretive than the TPP

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.

Next in line is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). The negotiations began in 2012 between 16 countries: India China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN countries, which represent half the world's population. 

Leaked documents have shown that the RCEP could include corporate rights to sue governments, stronger monopolies on medicines that would delay the availability of cheaper medicines, restricted regulation of essential services and more temporary workers vulnerable to exploitation, without any protections for workers’ rights or the environment. We link with similar campaigns in other countries to oppose these damaging proposals. See our Senate petition here.

Campaign Achievements: India withdraws and negotiations delayed 

In November 2019, 15 governments claimed they had completed the text of the deal, but strong community campaigns from Indian civil society forced the Indian government to withdraw, which reduced its claimed benefits for Australia and other countries. Some of the most damaging clauses like corporate rights to sue governments and stronger medicine monopolies may have been removed from the text, would be  a victory, but we will not know for sure until the text is released. The negotiations have been delayed by India's withdrawal and the new target date for signing is November 2020.We will continue to demand the release of texts before they are signed for public and parliamentary scrutiny.

Check out our short flyer here and our longer explainer here.

Learn more about the key issues in the RCEP:

Learn more:

RCEP Trade Ministers want to sign in November but still hoping India may re-join

August 31, 2020: The official statement from the on-line meeting on August 27 of 15 Trade Ministers negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership said that they were "pleased with the significant progress made towards finalizing the RCEP Agreement for signing at the fourth RCEP Summit in November 2020,” and that “the RCEP remains open for India”.

Malaysian government decision not to ratify CPTPP comes under pressure

August 6, 2020: Darell Leiking, Malaysia’s former minister of international trade and industry and MP for Penampang has confirmed that on November 29, 2019, the government decided that it had made the right decision in not ratifying the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). This was based on a one-year research effort, which had found potential negative impacts on domestic industry.

RCEP Trade Ministers vow to sign in 2020

June 29, 2020: Trade Ministers from the 15 states negotiating the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership met virtually on June 23, 2020, but ignored an open letter from AFTINET and a previous letter from 94 community organisations from RCEP countries calling for release of the RCEP text, a pause in the RCEP negotiations and review of the text to ensure that its rules do not restrict government action to save lives during the current and future pandemics.

Community groups say revise giant RCEP trade deal to ensure rules do not restrict government action during pandemics

Media release June 18, 2020:  “The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of 60 community groups has written to Trade Minister Birmingham ahead of a virtual meeting next week about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP) calling for a pause in the negotiations and review of the text to ensure that its rules do not restrict government action to save lives during the current and future pandemics,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

 

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