Reports suggest RCEP unlikely to be finalised today

November 4, 2019: News reports over the weekend suggest that it is unlikely that Prime Ministers will announce the conclusion of the RCEP agreement at their meeting in Bangkok today. This comes after RCEP Trade Ministers were unable to reach agreement on all of the outstanding issues at a meeting on Friday.

India is thought to be the sticking point. It is facing strong domestic opposition to the deal, with farmers and other industries concerned that it could lead to markets being flooded with cheap imports from China. On Friday, ten Indian Unions released a statement calling on the government to withdraw from the RCEP negotiations.

Amarjeet Kaur from the All India Trade Union Congress stated that “Global integration has come hand in hand with informality and precarity in employment, continued downward pressure on wages and deterioration of working conditions. It is time to take corrective steps and look at wage-led development and progressive economic cooperation instead of more of the same failed model that RCEP represents.”

News reports suggest that the Indian government is pushing for greater safeguards to protect local industries, but that RCEP governments are likely to make a statement later today committing to finalising the deal in early 2020.