Joseph Purugganan

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), a mega-regional free trade agreement being negotiated by the 10-member ASEAN regional bloc and its FTA partners China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand held its 18th round of talks May 2-12 in Manila, Philippines.  The RCEP talks gained more prominence recently in the wake of the US’ withdrawal from the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA and the strong push from countries like Japan, Korea, Australia, and New Zealand to bring TPP standards to the RCEP negotiating table. 

In the recent[c1]  “RCEP 18th Round of Talks,” members of civil society organizations and social movements presented their positions vis-à-vis the RCEP during the official Stakeholders’ Engangement, focusing on its impacts on trade, labor, and resources. They argued against the RCEP as it will give more power to already powerful corporations while making worse the state of employment and labor conditions for workers.

Manila -- Representatives of major Philippine trade unions in both the public and private sectors are concerned about the possible impacts of the Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership Agreement (RCEP) currently being negotiated in Manila. Among the issues they see resulting from the agreement are increase in the prices of medicines, government revenue decrease, and that government’s ability to regulate foreign investments, service providers, and transnational corporations may be constrained.

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