In this statement, the ITUC-AP strongly denounces the RCEP that does not meet their standard of just and fair trade rules. It states that the RCEP would jeopardise the potential for a sound industrial base for most countries, aggravate inequality and social-economic vulnerability, and lower income for workers and farmers. Furthermore, after 8 years of a series of undemocratic and closed negotiations, it fails to meet even its principle and objective to create ‘an open, inclusive, and rules-based trading system to make trade work for all’.
The pandemic started a global economic and social crisis which has yet to be contained with growing uncertainties. In the midst of the unprecedented health crisis, the Asian Pacific countries should be prioritizing protecting lives and income and investing in recovery and in reconstruction with resilience. The RCEP is clearly not supportive of the efforts to build back better after COVID-19 towards a sustainable, inclusive, and resilient world. Indeed, this agreement is clearly against prosperity in the future.