RCEP consultations without text a sham say community groups

July 27, 2017:  Members of community groups who attended brief consultations with negotiators at the RCEP talks in Hyderabad said that the refusal to disclose details of proposals meant the consultations were inadequate and demanded publication of negotiating texts.

The New Indian Express reports that Jyoti Panday from Electronic Frontier Foundations who was there to seek clarity on the proposals framed for the agreement for E-commerce sector, said, “First of all, e-commerce norms should not be in trade agreements. On top of that, the secrecy with which the agreement is being discussed is threatening. The entire text of the planning for the agreement should be made open to the public.”

“I leave the consultation very dissatisfied. My questions remain unanswered,” said activist Pradip Chatterjee, representing the cause of fishermen.

The People's Resistance Forum boycotted the consultation calling it “a sham as it is neither meaningful nor inclusive of most stakeholders,” and instead demanded release of the full negotiating texts and open debate of them in Parliament.