What is RCEP?

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) is the next trade agreement in the queue.

Negotiators from New Zealand, Japan and Australia are trying to insert TPPA provisions into the RCEP agreement. Fortunately this is being resisted by India and some ASEAN governments. New Zealand will host the 13th round of the RCEP trade negotiations in Auckland from 12-18 June 2016 at Sky City.


The 16 countries negotiating RCEP are Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea and New Zealand.

The RCEP countries account for almost a third of world GDP.  The agreement covers goods, services, investment, competition, intellectual property, economic and technical cooperation, e-commerce and law.

The RCEP negotiations have been like the TPP negotiations: no input from the public and top secret.

The TPP has been agreed to by all the participating countries, but faces a battle in the US with both major presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump opposed to it in its current form.

Dr Jane Kelsey’s analysis on the leaked RCEP chapter is on the newly created RCEP legal website.

RCEP Is A Threat To Affordable Medicine

Médecins Sans Frontières has concluded that the Intellectual Property provisions of the RCEP threaten access to medicine to millions of people around the world. The National Party’s failure to give assurances Pharmac. So it is unlikely that the current government will fight for access to affordable medicine within New Zealand during the RCEP negotiations.

…total disregard of the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable segment of the international community. Medecins Sans Frontieres

RCEP Is A Threat To Journalists And Whistleblowers

Worst of all is that none of these problems would have come to light if the text of the agreement had not been leaked.

The EFF has concluded the RCEP’s threat to privacy, journalism and whistleblowers is due to the secret, closed-door negotiations. And that the secret text must be released to the public.

RCEP negotiators’ failure to explicitly address the need for exceptions to trade secret protection for whistleblowers, journalists, and other disclosures in the public interest, represents another missed opportunity. Electronic Frontier Foundation

Report on RCEP negotiations

The thirteenth round of consultations were held in Auckland from the 12-18 June.

Parallel meetings were held by the Working Groups on Trade in Goods and Trade in Services including their respective Sub-Working Groups, as well as the Working Groups on Investment, Economic and Technical Cooperation, Intellectual Property, Competition, e-Commerce, and Legal and Institutional Issues.

Its Our Future attended the stakeholder event. Our detailed report is here.

Double Trouble Livestream

On June 10 2016,  Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates w joined by former UN official Dr. Jomo Kwame Sundaram to talk about the next steps in the TPPA process and the new, rather ominous sounding, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.

A recording of the livestream can be seen here.

Livestream timetable:

  • 00:00 blank for 30 minutes
  • 30:15 Sanya Reid Smith
  • 52:58 Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram
  • 1:07:15 Barry Coates
  • 1:20:13 Greg Rzesniowiecki
  • 1:39:51 The Q&A and discussion.
  • 2:00:07 Concludes