Chiang Mai, Thailand
13 November 2020
As Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is on the verge of being signed by 10 ASEAN countries and their five trading partners, APWLD has launched a video explaining why women’s movement in Asia and the Pacific is resisting this mega free trade agreement and demanding #NoRCEP.
RCEP gives multinational corporations the right to govern at the expense of women’s livelihoods, the environment and undermine democractic processes and policies. Women will be the worst affected by this free trade agreement. Land grabbing for corporate agriculture will impact their food sovereignty, rights over land and resources, and seed preservation. It will force women to migrate to seek labour and become vulnerable to trafficking and exploitative working conditions. RCEP and other similar free trade agreements are in reality a legal contract to give multinational corporations rights to destroy traditional livelihoods and lifestyles of indigenous communities. Indigenous women as the traditional keeper of their community’s local knowledge, seed, biodiversity and food sovereignty will lose their control as RCEP will put these knowledge and biodiversity into the hands of corporations under the guise of intellectual property.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown the precariousness of global-value chain and multilateral trade systems as a whole. At a time when countries should be focusing on fighting the pandemic, the push to sign a mega-trade deal like RCEP is a misplaced priority. The current crisis further illustrates the importance of the call that the feminists movement has been demanding – a feminist trade justice agenda that will remedy inequalities, ensure gender-responsive public services and infrastructure, promote and protect women’s human rights, both in this time of pandemic and the time to come after.
Join the local or national movements in your countries and demand the government to STOP RCEP!