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Open letter demanding the release of the RCEP text

Open letter demanding the release of the RCEP text

20 November 2019

On 4 November 2019 leaders of 15 countries in the Asia Pacific region announced the conclusion of the text-based negotiations for the 20 chapters of the Regional Comprehensive economic Partnership (RCEP).

In the Declaration from the Summit, governments stated their intention to sign the RCEP in Vietnam in early 2020.

Representatives of workers, farmers, women, indigenous peoples, environment, public health and patient groups, and other civil society organisations have repeatedly and consistently expressed our concerns about the negative effects that RCEP will have on people’s livelihoods, jobs, access to medicines, public services and the climate crisis and on economic development, democracy and national sovereignty.

We have also condemned the refusal to release negotiating texts of the agreement to allow the 3 billion people who will be affected by the RCEP to evaluate its impacts from our contexts, locations and perspectives.

Since the 4 November announcement, governments have, collectively and individually, provided their own accounts of what the agreement says and how it will affect our countries and people.
But they are keeping the text itself secret.

We note that many parties to the RCEP had released the un-scrubbed text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement prior to signing and that the draft text of the free trade agreement between Japan and the European Union was released before the negotiations entirely concluded.

We demand the immediate release of the agreed RCEP text for independent evaluation and scrutiny by the people, our elected representatives, and relevant public bodies.

Failure to do so will continue the affront to democracy and deepen public scepticism about claims regarding the value and positive impacts of RCEP.

The undersigned organisations:

Regional/international organisations
Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD)
Asia Pacific Research Network
Focus on the Global South
IBON Foundation
LDC Watch
People’s Coalition on Food Sovereignty (PCFS)

National organisations (RCEP member countries)
ActionAid Australia Australia
All UP Academic Employees Union-Manila Chapter Philippines
AM-net(Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development) Japan
AMWU NSW Branch Australia
Australian Arts Trust Australia
Australian Council of Trade Unions Australia
Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network Australia
Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union Australia
Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation Australia
Cambodian Grassroots Cross-sector Network Cambodia
Civil Liberties Australia Australia
Community Partners International Myanmar
Community Partners International (CPI) Myanmar
Consumers’ Association of Penang Malaysia
CPSU SPSF Group Australia
Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) India
Electrical Trades Union of Australia Australia
Finance Sector Union of Australia Australia
FIRST Union New Zealand
Forum For Trade Justice India
Foundation for AIDS Rights Thailand
Foundation for Women Thailand
Friends of the Earth Australia Australia
FTA Watch Thailand
FTUWKC Cambodia
Gene Ethics Australia
Greenpeace Aotearoa New Zealand New Zealand
Greenpeace Australia Pacific Australia
Health Law and Ethics Center, Faculty of Law, Thammasat University Thailand
Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM) India
Indonesia AIDS Coalition Indonesia
Indonesia for Global Justice (IGJ) Indonesia
IPLeft Republic of Korea
ITPC - South Asia India
ItsOurFuture New Zealand
Japan Family Farmers Movement (Nouminren) Japan
Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa (KALIPUNAN or Coalition of Social Movements) Philippines
Kesatuan Nelayan Tradisional Indonesia (KNTI/Indonesia Tradisional Fisherfolk Union Indonesia
KIARA (People’s Coalition for Fisheries Justice) Indonesia
Knowledge Commune South Korea
Korean Pharmacists for Democratic Society South Korea
Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet South Korea
KRuHA (People’s Coalition for the Right to Water) Indonesia
Lawyers Collective India
Maritime Union of Australia, Victoria Branch Australia
MyWATCH Malaysia
National Union of Bank Employees Malaysia
New South Wales Nurses and Midwives Association Australia
New Zealand Medical Association (NZMA) New Zealand
New Zealand Tertiary Education Union New Zealand
NZCTU New Zealand
Oxfam New Zealand New Zealand
Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC) Japan
Pax Christi Australia Australia
People Over Profit Network Philippines
People’s Action against TPP Japan
People’s Health Movement Australia Australia
People’s Health Movement, Korea South Korea
People’s Health Institute Republic of Korea (South Korea)
Philippines Australia Solidarity Association Australia
PHM Philippines Philippines
PNG Youth Alliance on HIV/AIDS Papua New Guinea
Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) Malaysia
Public Health Association of Australia Australia
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia) Malaysia
SEARCH Foundation Australia
Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa (SENTRO) Philippines
Sisters of Charity Australia
Social Action for Community and Development Cambodia
Society for Rural education and development India
Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights) Indonesia
South Coast Labour Council Australia
Sustainable Agriculture Foundation (Thailand) Thailand
Sutherland Shire Environment Centre Australia
The Australia Institute Australia
The Grail in Australia Global Justice Network Australia
The Music Trust Australia
TPP Osaka Network for Citizens Japan
Trade Justice Pilipinas Philippines
UnionsWA Australia
Vietnam Network of People living with HIV (VNP+) Vietnam
WomanHealth Philippines Philippines
Women’s Network for Unity Cambodia
Worker’s Information Center (WIC) Cambodia
World March of Women - Pilipinas Philippines
Youth Resource Development Program (YRDP) Cambodia