Like the TPP, the RCEP could contain rights for foreign corporations to bypass national courts and sue governments in unfair international tribunals. This system is called investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). ISDS has been opposed by civil society groups and some RCEP governments and in September 2019 the Malaysian trade Minister announced it had been excluded from the negotiations. But the text was still secret, and this cannot be confirmed until the the text is released after signing in 2020.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
The RCEP is even bigger than the TPP with its 16 countries representing half the world’s population. It's also more secretive than the TPP, which was infamous for its lack of transparency. What we do know from leaked documents is that there is a push to use the TPP as a model - which means the RCEP could also be a bad deal for democracy, health, the environment and working people.
March 23, 2017: Leaked documents from the December 2016 RCEP negotiations have been published on the KEI website. They show how the RCEP investment and services chapters restrict government regulation of investment flows and financial services.
An extract from the investment chapter sets out rules for governments dealing with balance of payments crises or other financial crisis.
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).
MEDIA RELEASE, March 9 2017: Two hundred organisations from 15 countries have urged trade ministers meeting in Chile next week not to use the failed TPP as a model for future agreements.
March 4, 2017: As RCEP negotiations continue in Japan, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has sent a letter to all negotiating countries to express their serious concern over provisions that threaten to restrict access to medicines for millions of people by delaying access to cheaper medicines and by allowing pharmaceutical companies to sue governments in international tribunals.
March 4, 2017: The Japanese family farmer movement recently protested outside RCEP negotiations in Kobe, Japan, with the message 'Seeds are ours!’
Photo: Japanese family farmer movement (Nouminren)’s recent action in Kobe during RCEP negotiations
March 2, 2017: As RCEP negotiations continue in Japan this week, copyright experts have voiced their concerns about the way the agreement’s intellectual property chapter could undermine the public interest.