Civil society groups urge Philippine trade negotiators to leave RCEP

Civil society groups including People Over Profit, Health Alliance for Democracy (HEAD) and Ibon Foundation met with Philippine trade officials on September 4 to express their strong opposition to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), ahead of the 5th ministerial talks in Manila on September 10.

The RCEP would perpetuate inequality, extending the monopolies of corporations from advanced industrial countries at the expense of the Philippines. Specific concerns raised by Philippine civil society groups include ISDS mechanisms undermining governments’ rights to regulate, increased medicine monopolies via patent extension and data exclusivity, negative impacts on smallholder farmers and food producers, fewer regulations protecting citizenship and national data, and diminished prospects for national industrialisation in the Philippines. 

The civil society groups are calling for the Philippines to withdraw from RCEP and similar trade negotiations, and for greater transparency and public dialogue around negotiations.