Civil Society Open letter to Governments in the 16 RCEP Countries

29 November 2016

 Dear Trade Ministers & Negotiators from the RCEP countries,

Subject: TPP rules in RCEP must be rejected


This is an urgent call by 316 civil society organisations from across the Asian and Pacific countries negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which includes the 10 ASEAN Member States with China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.

This letter comes at a very important political moment, when in the aftermath of the US elections it seems clear that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) will not be ratified by the USA, in spite of its big push since February 2016 when the agreement was signed by the 12 countries.

It is clear that the TPP has been soundly rejected by the American people and there has also been widespread opposition to it in other TPP countries on both sides of the Pacific. According to the TPP text, if the US does not ratify it, the TPP cannot come into force.

The current negotiations in RCEP are complicated by the fact that there are 6 countries which are part of the TPP and there have been many attempts to import TPP texts into RCEP and sometimes even an attempt to go beyond the TPP. A few examples below bear testimony to how TPP wording is being proposed in RCEP.

  • In the investment chapter, apart from a few safeguards, all the TPP’s substantive and main investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions have been proposed in the leaked RCEP investment chapter.
  • In services, for example, all the substantive TPP telecommunications chapter rules have been proposed in RCEP according to the leaked RCEP text.
  • In RCEP’s leaked draft e-commerce terms of reference, all the TPP ecommerce chapter rules appear to be proposed and all the RCEP ecommerce ideas appear to come from the TPP, therefore proposing an exact match of the texts
  • In the leaked RCEP intellectual property (IP) chapter, Japan, South Korea and some others are pushing many of the main substantive stronger IP provisions of the TPP

With the demise of the TPP, there is no justification for adhering to the TPP texts in RCEP because these have no mandate. This is even more irrational in the absence of the TPP as Asian countries (including least developed countries (LDCs)) would end up carrying the load that other rich countries in the TPP (US, Canada) will not have to bear any more.

The RCEP texts which have leaked so far have many fundamental problems that will negatively impact all sectors of society in RCEP countries. [1]

We call upon the governments participating in the RCEP, to recognize this critical moment and not to bring the toxic content of the TPP into the RCEP and instead to stop the RCEP negotiations.

We urge you to revisit the trade relations between the 16 countries. A new model must be based on cooperation and not competition, one that puts the development needs of the region above that of corporations, and puts people and the environment at its centre, that recognizes economic policy can work only if it is inclusive, not only in terms of the impact on different constituencies but also if it integrates the social and environmental concerns of the world.



Signatory civil society organisations:

 No Organisation RCEP country
1 Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN) Global
2 GRAIN Global
3 LDC Watch Global
4 People Over Profit Global
5 Adivasi Navjeewan Gathan Navjyoti Agua Regional
6 Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD) Regional
7 Asia Pacific Network of People Living With HIV Regional
8 Asia Pacific Research Network Regional
9 Building and Wood Worker’s International Asia-Pacific Regional
10 Community Network for Empowerment Regional
11 EU-ASEAN FTA Campaign Network Regional
12 Focus on the Global South Regional
13 Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific Regional
14 International Treatment Preparedness Coalition-South Asia Regional
15 NGO Forum on ADB Regional
16 Public Services International Asia Pacific Regional
17 ActionAid Australia Australia
18 Australian Council of Trade Unions Australia
19 Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network Australia
20 Conference of Leaders of Religious Institutes in NSW Australia
21 Edmund Rice Centre for Justice Australia
22 Electrical Trades Union of Australia Australia
23 Friends of the Earth Australia Australia
24 Greenpeace Australia Pacific Australia
25 MADGE Australia Inc Australia
26 National Tertiary Education Union Australia
27 Sisters of St Joseph Australia
28 Speaking 4 the Planet Australia
29 Sutherland Shire Environment Centre Australia
30 The Grail Women’s Network for Global Justice Australia
31 Cambodian Grassroots Cross-sector Network Cambodia
32 Cambodian Labour Confederation Cambodia
33 Farmer for Farmer Network Cambodia
34 Independent Farmer Association for Community Development Cambodia
35 Social Action for Change Cambodia
36 The Messenger Band-MB Cambodia
37 Women’s Network for Unity Cambodia
38 Worker’s Information Center Cambodia
39 SILAKA Cambodia
40 Alliance for Sustainable & Holistic Agriculture (ASHA) India
41 Association for promotion sustainable development. Hisar. India India
42 Centre for Equity Studies India
43 Centre for Research and Advocacy Manipur India
44 Citizen News Service (CNS) India
45 Delhi Network of Positive People (DNP+) India
47 Forum on FTAs India
48 Indian Social Action Forum India
49 Lawyers Collective India
50 Low Cost Standard Therapeutics India
51 Madhyam India
52 New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) India
53 People’s Action For Rural Awakening India
54 Public Advocacy Initiatives for Rights and Values in India (PAIRVI) India
55 Right to Food Campaign India India
56 Sankalp Rehabilitation Trust India
57 Save Our Rice Campaign India
58 Socialist Party (India) India
59 Thanal India
60 Wada Na Toro Abhiyan (WNTA) India
61 IT for Change India
62 Samuel Hahnemann Associates And Research Centre India
63 Federation Of Indonesian Labour Struggle ( FPBI ) Indonesia
64 Koalisi Rakyat untuk Hak atas Air /people’s coalition for the right to water Indonesia
65 CREATA (Center for Reasearch of Environment, Apppropriate Technology, and Advocacy) Indonesia
66 Indonesia AIDS Coalition Indonesia
67 People’s Coalition for the Right to Water (KRuHA) Indonesia
68 SatuDunia (One World Indonesia) Indonesia
69 Serikat Perempuan Indonesia Indonesia
70 Serikat Petani Indonesia Indonesia
71 Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights) Indonesia
72 Institut Perempuan Indonesia
73 Wahana Lingkungan Hidup Indonesia Indonesia
74 Gabungan Serikat Buruh Indonesia /Federation of Indonesian Trade Union (GSBI) Indonesia
75 Indonesia For Global Justice Indonesia
76 Mamademo Japan
77 Pacific Asia Resource Center (PARC) Japan
78 People’s Action against TPP Japan
79 Association of Physicians for Humanism Korea, Republic of
80 International trade committee in the Lawyers’ Society for Democratic Society Korea, Republic of
81 IPLeft Korea, Republic of
82 Knowledge Commune Korea, Republic of
83 Korean Federation of Medical Groups for Health Right (KFHR) Korea, Republic of
84 Korean Progressive Network Jinbonet Korea, Republic of
85 Open Net Korea Korea, Republic of
86 People’s Health Institute Korea, Republic of
87 People’s Health Movement Korea Korea, Republic of
88 People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy Korea, Republic of
89 Action Coalition Against the TPPA (BANTAH) Malaysia
90 Consumers’ Association of Penang Malaysia
91 Malaysian AIDS Council Malaysia
92 Malaysian Council for Tobacco Control (MCTC) Malaysia
93 Network of Oppressed Peoples (JERIT) Malaysia
94 Persatuan Pendidikan dan Kebajikan Jaringan Nelayan Pantai Malaysia (JARING) Malaysia
95 Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) Malaysia
96 Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia) Malaysia
97 Cooperative Committee of Trade Unions Myanmar
98 88 Generation (Moenyin-Kachin) Myanmar
99 88 Generation (MyeikKyun Su, Tanintharyi) Myanmar
100 Action Group for Farmer Affair- Magway Myanmar
101 Action Group for Farmer Affair- Mandalay Myanmar
102 Action Group for Farmer Affair- Rakhine Myanmar
103 Action Group for Farmer Affair- Sagain Myanmar
104 Action Group for Farmer Affair-Ayeyawady Myanmar
105 Action Group for Farmer Affair-Bago Myanmar
106 Action Group for Farmer Affair-Northern Shan Myanmar
107 AD 2030 Vision (Sittwe) Myanmar
108 Ah Linn Tager Library (Sittwe) Myanmar
109 Ahlineain development organization Myanmar
110 Airavati Myanmar
111 Alin Saytaman Group Myanmar
112 Alin Theinta Group Myanmar
113 Alinn Bamaw Organization Myanmar
114 All Arakan Civil Society Organizations Partnership (Arakan) Myanmar
115 Andin Youth Organization Myanmar
116 Arakan National Network (Lay Daung) Myanmar
117 Arakan Women Network (Arakan) Myanmar
118 Ayar West Development Organization Myanmar
119 Ayeyawady West Development Organization Myanmar
120 BadeiDhaMoe Civil Society Organization Myanmar
121 Bago MATA Working Group Myanmar
122 Bago Youth Network Myanmar
123 Beautiful Beach Development Network (BBDN) (NgaYoke Kaung, Ayeyarwaddy) Myanmar
124 Bedar Social Development Group Myanmar
125 Bilin – Win Ka Village Ambulance association (Mon state) Myanmar
126 Bilin CSO Network Myanmar
127 Bo Bo Lwin Myanmar
128 Bobowin Emergency Rescue Service Myanmar
129 Bommazayya Social Development Association Myanmar
130 Bommazayya Social Development Association (Kant Ba Lu, Sagaing Division) Myanmar
131 Charity-oriented Myanmar Myanmar
132 Chin Youth Network Myanmar
133 Citizens’ Rights Protection (Yangon) Myanmar
134 Community Response Group Myanmar
135 Community Sustainable Livelihood Development Committee Myanmar
136 Danu Youth Myanmar
137 Dawei Active Youth Myanmar
138 Dawei Development Association Myanmar
139 Dawei Farmer Union Myanmar
140 Dawei Research Association Myanmar
141 Dawei Watch Foundation Myanmar
142 Dawei Youth Fellowship Myanmar
143 Democratic Education Corner (DEC) Myanmar
144 Developmental Justice Myanmar Myanmar
145 East light Myanmar
146 Eco Wave CBO (Tahnintharyi) Myanmar
147 Environmental Protection Organization (Kyauktaw) Myanmar
148 Environmental Protection Organization (Ponnagyun) Myanmar
149 Environmental Protection Organization (Mrauk oo) Myanmar
150 Equality Myanmar Myanmar
151 Farmer Development and Environment Conservation Organization Myanmar
152 Farmer Union (Kyaukse) Myanmar
153 Farmers And Land Workers Union (SHAN) Myanmar
154 Farmers Network (Meikhtilar District) Myanmar
155 Freethinkers Myanmar
156 Future Light Youth (Mon State) Myanmar
157 Golden Heart Organization Myanmar
158 Green Generation Myanmar
159 Green Light Organization Myanmar
160 Green Network (Kyun Su, Thanintaryi) Myanmar
161 Green Trust (Pyin Oo Lwin) Myanmar
162 Green Wave Environmental Conservation Networks (Ayarwaddy) Myanmar
163 Hin Thar Dagon Group (Bago- Letpadan) Myanmar
164 Human Rights Educators Network Myanmar
165 Human Rights Watch (Dawei) Myanmar
166 IFI Watch Kyun Su (Kyun Su, Tanintharyi) Myanmar
167 IFI Watch Myanmar (Yangon) Myanmar
168 Independent Volunteers Myanmar
169 K’ Cho Land Development Organization Myanmar
170 Ka Mar Sai Social Support Organization (Mon state) Myanmar
171 Kachin National Youth Network Myanmar
172 Kachin Peace Network Myanmar
173 Kachin State Youth Network Myanmar
174 Kalyana Mitta Foundation (Yangon) Myanmar
175 Kan Chay Arr Man Fishery Development Network (NgaYoke Kaung, Ayeyarwaddy) Myanmar
176 Kan Let Youth Social Organization (Kin Mon Chaung Village, Kyeikhto, Mon state) Myanmar
177 Kanbawza Youth Library Network Myanmar
178 Kanpetlet Land Development Organization Myanmar
179 Karen Environmental and Social Action Network Myanmar
180 Karen Peace Support Network Myanmar
181 Karenni Nationalities People’s Liberation Myanmar
182 Karenni State Women Myanmar
183 Karuna Mission Social Solidarity Myanmar
184 Kayan New Generation Youth Myanmar
185 Khun Tan Nwe PaOh Youth Network Mon Myanmar
186 Ko Than Hla Rakhine Youth Generation (RakhineState) Myanmar
187 Kun Gyan Gone Network (Kun Gyan Gone, Yangon) Myanmar
188 Kungyangon Network Myanmar
189 Kyauk Phyu Social Network (Kyauk Phyu) Myanmar
190 Kyaukkyi Development Watch Myanmar
191 KYO Kachin Youth Myanmar
192 LAIN Technical Support Group ( Loikaw, Karenni) Myanmar
193 Land In Our Hands Myanmar
194 Law Home Law Firm (Loikaw, Kayah State ) Myanmar
195 Lighthouse Social Development Organization (Ayarwaddy) Myanmar
196 Lighthouse social development organization (ThaBound) Myanmar
197 Local Development Network (Mon) Myanmar
198 Ma Yu Kam Development Association (Rathedaung) Myanmar
199 Mandalay Community Center Myanmar
200 Mar Ya Ja Organization (Myitkyina, Kachin State) Myanmar
201 Matupi Women Organization Myanmar
202 Maw Gwun Thit Network Myanmar
203 Mawlamyine Natural Disaster Prevention and Rescue Organization (Mon state) Myanmar
204 Mawlamyine Youth Association Myanmar
205 Mawlamyine Youth Network Myanmar
206 May Yu Rin Thwe Social Association (Rathedaung) Myanmar
207 Maymyo Farmer Development network Myanmar
208 Merguie Archipelago (Kyun Su, Tanintharyi) Myanmar
209 Metta Development Foundation Myanmar
210 Metta Lat Kan (Myeik, Tanintharyi) Myanmar
211 Min Hla Youth Network Myanmar
212 Mizzima Hnalonethat (Loikaw, Kayah) Myanmar
213 Mon State CSOs Network Myanmar
214 Mon State Youth Network Myanmar
215 Mong Pan Youth Association Myanmar
216 Mwae Taung Area Development Myanmar
217 Myanmar Alliance for Accountability and Transparency (Ayeyarwaddy) Myanmar
218 Myanmar Alliance for Accountability and Transparency (Mon State) Myanmar
219 Myanmar Alliance for Accountability and Transparency (Shan) Myanmar
220 Myanmar Alliance for Transparency & Accountability (Mandalay) Myanmar
221 Myanmar China Pipeline Watch Myanmar
222 Myanmar Deaf Community Development Association Myanmar
223 Myanmar People Alliance Myanmar
224 Myanmar Youth Society Network Myanmar
225 Myat Won Thit Knowledge Society Myanmar
226 Myaung Mya Youth Network Myanmar
227 Myitmakha Watch Myanmar
228 Naga Students and Youth Federation (Yangon) Myanmar
229 Nan Thet Thet Tun Nature Lover (Mandalay) Myanmar
230 Nate Ban Shwe Pyi Youth Social association (KaTike Kye Village, Thahton, Mon State) Myanmar
231 Natural Green Alliance Myanmar
232 New Generation Youth Association (Buthedaung) Myanmar
233 Open Data Myanmar Myanmar
234 Our Lovely World (Taunggyi, Shan State) Myanmar
235 Pa-O Youth Organization Myanmar
236 Pace on Peaceful Myanmar
237 Pann Tai Shin Regional Development Organization (Mawlamyinegyun, Ayeyarwaddy) Myanmar
238 Paung Ku Myanmar
239 Peace & Open Society (KyaukseTownship) Myanmar
240 Peace and Justice (Kachin) Myanmar
241 Phoenix Association Myanmar
242 Promotion Of Indigenous and Nature Together Myanmar
243 Public Legal Aid Network Myanmar
244 Public Welfare Network (PWN) Myanmar
245 Pyoe Khinn Thit Foundation (Maubin) Myanmar
246 Rakhine Youth New Generation Myanmar
247 Rammer Shwe Myae Parahita Association (Ram Bray) Myanmar
248 Real Image Social Development Organization (Bogalay, Ayeyarwaddy) Myanmar
249 Right and Peace Organization (Kalay) Myanmar
250 Sein Lann Pyin Oo Myanmar
251 Sein Yaung So Myanmar
252 Shan State Peace Task Force Myanmar
253 Shwe Bo Buddhist Youth (Shwe Bo, Sagaing) Myanmar
254 Shwe Chan Myay Network (Kungyangone Township, Yangon) Myanmar
255 Shwe Chinthae Social Service Group (Shwebo) Myanmar
256 Shwe Hmaw Wun Kyauktan Region Development Organization (Kyauktan ,Yangon) Myanmar
257 Shwe Kyin Chit Thu Group Myanmar
258 Shwe Yeik Sit Environmental Group Myanmar
259 Shwechinthae Farmers Network (Shwe Bo) Myanmar
260 Sidoktayar Development Organization Myanmar
261 Sittaung Melody Social Network Myanmar
262 Sky Youth (Kyauk Phyu) Myanmar
263 Snow Or Dew Buddhist Youth (SODBY) Myanmar
264 Social Program Aid for Civic Education (Arakan) Myanmar
265 Social Vision Services Myanmar
266 Supporting Harmonious Actions and Nurturing for Advancing Hope Myanmar
267 Ta’ang Student Youth Myanmar
268 Ta’ang Youth Organization Myanmar
269 Taungzalatt (Mindat, Chin State) Myanmar
270 Tavoyan Youth Myanmar
271 Tha Pyu Chaine Youth Parahita (Tha Pyu Chaine-Thandwe) Myanmar
272 Tha Zin Ligeal Aid (Arakan) Myanmar
273 The Gone Youth Network Myanmar
274 Third Eye Network (Mindat, Chin State) Myanmar
275 Tontay Youth Myanmar
276 Uakthon Local Social Development Organization Myanmar
277 Union of Karenni State Youth Myanmar
278 United ACT Myanmar
279 Wan Lark Development Foundation (Arakan) Myanmar
280 We Are Tai (Peace and Local Development Group) Myanmar
281 Witmutti Volunteer Group Myanmar
282 Women For Women Foundation Myanmar
283 Wunpawng Ninghtoi (WPN) Myanmar
284 Ye Social Society Myanmar
285 Yoma Chitthu Group Myanmar
286 Youth for Social Change Myanmar
287 YPHN Myanmar
288 Zinlum Committee (Tan Phe Village, Kachin) Myanmar
289 It’s Our Future New Zealand
290 Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM) Philippines
291 Aniban ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura Pilipinas Philippines
292 Campaign for a Life of Dignity (KAMP) Philippines
293 Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) Philippines
294 IBON Foundation Philippines
295 Initiatives for Dialogue and Empowerment through Alternative Legal Services Philippines
296 KILUSAN para sa Pambansang Demokrasya (KILUSAN) Philippines
297 Sentro ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa Philippines
298 Social Watch Philippines Philippines
299 WomanHealth Philippines Philippines
300 GABRIELA Alliance of Filipino Women Philippines
301 Ecological Alert and Recovery – Thailand (EARTH) Thailand
302 Thai AIDS Treatment Action Group Thailand
303 AIDS Access Foundation Thailand
304 Alternative Agriculture Network Thailand
305 BioThai Thailand
306 Drug Study Group Thailand
307 Foundation for AIDS Rights Thailand
308 Foundation for Consumers Thailand
309 Friends of Kidney Failure Patients Group Thailand
310 FTA Watch Thailand
311 Rural Pharmacists  Group Thailand
312 Stop Drink Network Thailand
313 Thai Holistic Health Foundation Thailand
314 Thai NGO Coalition on AIDS Thailand
315 Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS (TNP+) Thailand
316 Vietnam Network of People living with HIV (VNP+) Vietnam



[1] See for example civil society’s concerns re RCEP’s: intellectual property chapter provisions that can threaten access to medicines and investment chapter

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