PSI Asia Pacific Resolution to Oppose RCEP – Unions For Trade Justice

PSI Asia Pacific Resolution to Oppose RCEP

Resolution No. 22 on Trade of the 29th World Congress of PSI, 2012, resolves to oppose international trade agreements which threaten the funding and delivery of public services globally and to LEND particular SUPPORT to unions in the global south who voice opposition to TPP and other bilateral and multilateral trade agreements;

NOTING that 16 Asia-Pacific countries are negotiating a mega Free Trade Agreement that includes the 10 ASEAN member states plus Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).

PSI Affiliates in India and Malaysia are very concerned that RCEP is currently being fast-tracked and negotiated in secrecy.

RCEP is expected to undermine local and national government decision-making powers and increase corporate access to public services, resulting in the privatization of critical public services; whilst it has been demonstrated that privatization of health-care, education, water, energy and other publicly-provided services have the most negative impact on women, noting that six out of 10 of the world’s poorest people are women.

RCEP is expected to constrain government expenditures as revenues are lost due to the decrease in import duties, as well as the cost of expensive arbitration cases provided for under RCEP.

RCEP is expected to provide for unfair and secret arbitration tribunals (known as Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanisms, or ISDS), where corporations can make exorbitant claims against governments, but governments cannot make claims against corporations.

Alarmed that the Philippines government reportedly spent USD 58 million on legal services for an ISDS case, which could have been invested in strengthening public services. 

Noted that several affiliates in the region have opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) as it will destroy local industry and jobs.

Noted with concern that there is a consequent overlap between the provisions included in the TPP and those expected to be included in RCEP.

RESOLVES TO

  • OPPOSE the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) being negotiated in the Asia Pacific Region;
  • WORK with global union federations, affiliated unions and civil society allies who oppose RCEP, with the aim to promote alliances and coalitions to challenge RCEP;
  • LEND particular SUPPORT to unions in the global south who voice opposition to RCEP and other bilateral and multilateral trade agreements.

REQUESTS AFFILIATES TO

  • MONITOR developments at the country level with regard to the RCEP negotiations;
  • Actively educate their members and their broader communities about the negative aspects of RCEP and their ability to intervene.
  • Actively participate in campaigns against RCEP at the national and regional level.
  • Encourage the formation of coalitions that will participate in campaigns against RCEP.
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