UTJ Press Conference: RCEP deal will undermine economic recovery – Unions For Trade Justice

UTJ Press Conference: RCEP deal will undermine economic recovery

12 Nov, 9 am Time of Bangkok

The Asia Pacific region continues to be in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even as cases rise, economies struggle to revive, health systems are overstretched and job losses mount, the controversial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is only set to worsen the situation.

UNCTAD warns us that the unequal economic recovery will require governments to make adequate use of their fiscal and policy tools to steer the recovery towards a more equitable development path. Even so 15 heads of state in the region have decided to sign on a deal that would lead to a loss of policy space, even while new evidence shows that the economic benefits will be negligible for most developing countries.

Instead of furthering a free trade project, countries should be collaborating on reviving their economies and expanding public goods. Yet RCEP threatens to dampen efforts to promote equitable access to vaccines and other medical products by imposing the protection of intellectual property rights at the expense of public health.

The eminent speakers will address the press on these and other issues of concern for labour unions in the region. A Joint Statement of Unions For Trade Justice will be released at the Press Conference.

Watch the Press Conference recording.


  • Charles Santiago, Member of Parliament of Malaysia
  • Risa Hontiveros, Senator of the Philippines: watch her video recording
  • Andrew Dettmer, National President Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union (AMWU)
  • Liam Rutherford, President New Zealand Educational Institute (NZEI)
  • Che Chariya, Garment worker from Cambodia

Moderator: Kate Lappin, Public Services International Regional Secretary for Asia Pacific, on behalf of Unions for Trade Justice.


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