New briefing says RCEP could intensify land grabbing in Asia

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.

The briefing shows that more than 9.6 million hectares of farmland has already been transferred from rural communities to foreign corporations in the last decade, with Australia, Cambodia, Indonesia and Laos experiencing the most land transfers.

GRAIN argue that the RCEP could exacerbate land-grabbing by remove barriers to foreign investment in agriculture and service industries. They argue that national treatment provisions, which ensure that foreign companies are treated the same as domestic companies, would prevent countries like Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand from restricting foreign ownership of farmland, as they currently do.

GRAIN also suggests that standstill and ratchet clauses that freeze liberalisation and regulation at current levels could prevent governments from developing new regulation to protect farmland in the future. They are also critical of the proposed inclusion of investor-state dispute settlement provisions that could enable agribusinesses and corporations in the food service industries to sue governments for policy decisions that impact on their profits.

Read the full briefing at: