RCEP giant trade deal talks to continue in 2019 as civil society resistance grows

15 November 2018: CEP Ministers from 16 countries meeting in Singapore have confirmed in a statement that they will miss the deadline of finishing the agreement in 2018, and that talks will continue in 2019. The statement says that seven of twenty chapters of the agreement have been completed. 

The Regional comprehensive Economic Partnership talks between China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN countries, covering half the world’s population, began in 2012 and have missed many deadlines.

The deal is bigger and more secretive than the TPP.

The delay follows ongoing disagreements over TPP-like proposals on foreign investor rights to sue governments (ISDS) and stronger monopolies on medicines from Japan and South Korea, which have been resisted by India and some ASEAN governments. There are also disagreements about tariffs, trade in services and other issues.

Pressure has also come from civil society groups in many of the member countries, which oppose ISDS and stronger medicine monopolies, which would delay the availability of cheaper medicines and other restrictions on government regulation in the public interest.

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