March 19, 2018: Jim Stanford from the Australia Institute writes in The Guardian that Trump’s unilateral and xenophobic approach to trade policy is dangerous and could lead to trade conflict. He argues we need an alternative to both Trump’s unilateralism and to corporate-dominated trade deals like the TPP.
Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)
March 8, 2018: After Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiators met in Singapore this week to continue talks, ASEAN sources have told journalists that they are working towards a ‘substantial conclusion’ in 2018.
12 February 2018: The latest round of negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement have just concluded in Jakarta. Japan, the second largest exporter of intellectual property in the world, is leading the push for extended intellectual property protections.
January 19, 2018: A new report by Greenpeace, Justice for People and Planet, uses 20 case studies of global corporations to explain how corporate power is being used to violate human rights and environmental rights. The report argues that governments should adopt 10 Principles for Corporate Accountability to curb ‘corporate capture, collusion and impunity’.
January 16, 2018: Bloomberg reports that Japan’s income from monopolies on brands, patents (including medicines) and copyright has jumped by 74% over the past five years to a record high. That is why Japan has replaced the US as the major champion of stronger medicine and copyright monopolies in the TPP-11 and RCEP negotiations.
January 9, 2018: A working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) recently held talks to discuss current concerns about the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) scheme, and possible reforms. UNICTRAL is one of the two bodies which provides panels of investment law arbitrators for ISDS disputes.
November 17, 2017: After five years and 20 rounds of negotiations, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) will continue into 2018. This means that they have missed a deadline for the third time. The Leaders' statement lists 18 chapters for continued talks.
Indonesian Minister of Trade Enggartiasto Lukita has asked negotiating countries to be ‘more realistic and flexible’ about their standards. He also has referred to the RCEP as ‘the only game in town’, an apparent reference to the uncertain future of the TPP-11. Other reports say the new target for completion is November 2018.
October 26, 2017: MSF (Doctors without Borders) has called for India and other countries to block RCEP proposals from Japan and South Korea that would allow pharmaceutical companies to have stronger monopolies, prevent competition and keep medicine prices high. They added that it was time to end the push for ever-higher levels of monopoly control of medicines through free trade agreements .
October 25, 2017: IBON International has released a powerful new video, ‘Trade for the People,’ which looks at how the neoliberal trade regime has delivered for transnational corporations at the expense of the global South.