September 12, 2019: AFTINET held a Parliamentary Forum on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement on Wednesday 11 September in order to inform Parliamentarians of the social and environmental risks of the agreement and provide an update on progress in the negotiations.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
August 26, 2019: Indonesian civil society groups protested against the RCEP trade agreement last Friday, arguing that the agreement promotes corporate rights over people’s rights. The protest coincided with intersessional RCEP negotiations that took place in Jakarta from 23-25 August.
August 7, 2019: Amiti Sen writing in the Hindu Business Line argues that India had a clear mandate at the recent Bejing RCEP negotiations to refuse further concessions and say no to any pact which does not meet its needs.
August 5, 2019: The official statement from the RCEP Ministerial Meeting held on August 2-3 said the RCEP talks “must keep the momentum towards concluding negotiations within the year.” But actual progress of the negotiations is slow.
August 1, 2019: Business Today of India reports that India’s Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal is not attending the RCEP ministerial meeting being held in Beijing today and tomorrow, but will be represented by a more junior official. The RCEP negotiations include China, India, Japan, South Korea, the 10 ASEAN countries, Australia and New Zealand.
July 29, 2019: After an 18-month inquiry, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) which is independent of government, has produced a Report on Digital Platforms with 23 recommendations for regulation to protect consumer privacy, prevent extremist and misleading digital content, address the market dominance of Facebook and Google and support public interest journalism.
July 15, 2019: A new briefing by GRAIN, an international non-profit organisation that works to support small farmers and social movements in their struggles for community-controlled and biodiversity-based food systems, argues that the RCEP trade agreement could increase land-grabbing across Asia and undermine the livelihoods of millions of farmers and fisherfolk across the region.
July 9, 2019: Before the RCEP negotiations in Melbourne, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir was quoted in the Malay Mail saying that he would be open to suggestions from China that the RCEP could be reduced to 13 rather than 16 governments, so that the deal could be completed by the end of the year.
July 8: 2019: The Times of India reports that some proposals for stronger medicine monopolies, which would delay the availability of cheaper medicines, have been withdrawn from the RCEP negotiations. This follows strong campaigning by public health and other community groups which pressured the Indian government to reject them.
July 4, 2019: Sam Cossar from Friends of the Earth explains in The Ecologist why investor rights to sue governments when they act to protect people and the environment should be kept out of the RCEP and other trade deals.