RCEP will affect not just its member countries. Because it is very big, and even bigger than the TPPA in purchasing power parity terms, it will strengthen the monopoly agrocorporations and other monopoly corporations not only within its sphere but also in the entire world.
à RCEP will strengthen the focus of poor countries on producing cash crops for export, instead of food for domestic consumption.
à RCEP will open up the lands of its poorest members to foreign ownership, for the operations of agricultural and mining corporations. It will make the struggle for genuine land reform even more difficult, by concentrating lands in the hands of big foreign corporations, by securing their hold through ISDS mechanisms, and by reversing prior efforts to redistribute lands to farmers.
à RCEP, which is said to be focused at present on reducing tariffs, will allow advanced capitalist countries to dump their heavily-subsidized agricultural produce to less developed countries, thereby destroying the livelihood of small farmers and domestic agriculture systems in the latter.
à RCEP will strengthen monopoly agrocorporations’ hold on the intellectual property rights over seeds, plants and traditional knowledge. This will mean the plunder or denationalization of biodiversity and traditional knowledge in many of the RCEP member-countries.
à RCEP will strengthen the dependence of farmers, indigenous peoples and other small-scale food producers on imported and commercial inputs.
à RCEP will mean attacks on labor rights across-the-board, and therefore attacks on the rights of food and agricultural workers, who already suffer from the worst working conditions in terms of low wages, contractual employment, and attacks on trade-union rights.
à RCEP will undermine the right of its member-countries to reject genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) that they have not approved and to subject those GMOs to a prior risk assessment. It will ensure the uninterrupted trade of GMOs to the benefit of major GMO producers and exporters.
à RCEP will surely worsen the militarism and militarization in the region to ensure the implementation of policies that are harmful to farmers, indigenous peoples, small-scale food producers and the people. To safeguard big investment interests, it allows for the deployment of so-called “investement defense forces.”
As a neoliberal trade deal that seeks to concentrate wealth and power in the hands of big corporations, RCEP will also be harmful to developing countries’ struggle for industrialization, access to cheaper medicines, quality social services, and protection of the environment.
Signing into RCEP will rollback the victories of the farmers and peoples of various countries in fighting for food sovereignty and against thoroughgoing liberalization, privatization, deregulation and denationalization of economies. It will mean signing on to a worse version of the WTO.
Leaders of the RCEP aim to seal the agreement this 2017. We are calling on all organizations of farmers, indigenous peoples and small-scale food producers as well as their supporters including NGOs, and all food sovereignty activists around the world, to uphold the said constituencies’ interests and fight RCEP.
Now, more than ever, the farmers, indigenous peoples and small-scale food producers of the world are called upon to intensify our fight: Fight for food sovereignty! Fight for land, food and genuine development! Oppose the RCEP and other FTAs!