RCEP fails the human rights test – AFTINET submission

April 20, 2021: The Australian Fair Trade & Investment Network lodged its submission on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership with the Australian parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Treaties on April 16, 2021.

The RCEP includes Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries.

Despite gross violation of human rights in Myanmar, China and the Philippines, the RCEP has no commitments to human rights, labour rights or environmental sustainability.

The RCEP provides no increased market access for Australian goods exports, as Australia already has free trade agreements with all RCEP countries, and there has been no independent assessment of its costs and benefits.

The RCEP would also restrict government regulation of essential services like aged care and state regulation of carbon emissions, and restricts local industry development needed to improve local capability for producing essential products and assisting the recovery from the pandemic. The government should not ratify the RCEP, but should seek renegotiation to address its failures.

JSCOT is expected to report to the parliament about the RCEP in late August, 2021.