We invite you to the People’s Forum on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on 27 February 2023 from 9:00 in the morning to 12:00PM at the UP ISSI and via Facebook Live. This timely forum is part of the continuing discussions started by sectors during the 2022 People’s Summit that presented our most urgent demands and challenges to the Marcos Jr. administration.
Upon the order of President and agriculture secretary Bongbong Marcos Jr., the Philippine Senate approved and ratified last February 21 the onerous Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a “mega-regional” trade agreement signed on November 2020 by 10 ASEAN member countries and 5 free trade agreement (FTA) partners like Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea.
RCEP which came into effect in January-February 2022 covers 50% of the total global manufacturing output; 50% of the global automotive output; 70% of electronics; 26% of the global value chain trade volume; 60% of the global value chain for electrical machinery, petroleum, chemicals, textile, apparel, metal, and transport equipment; at 35% contribution on global exports of electronics and machinery.
In the Philippines, among the sectors to be most affected by RCEP is agriculture. At risk are our sensitive products and 84% of our agricultural tariff lines for which we have committed zero tariffs under RCEP. More troubling is the fact that the many programs that the government claims to be doing to help farmers are not working, and our competitive position has been deteriorating over the years.
Decades under the World Trade Organization (WTO) and free trade agreements brought irreparable damage to our agriculture and industries. Instead of protecting and strengthening our local agriculture and industries, the government will dive into RCEP without any safety nets and a back-up plan. We believe that RCEP is not a fix-all solution to the problems of our trade and economy. The PH government will be joining RCEP in a disadvantaged position to the detriment of Filipinos.
We also thus reiterate your organization’s statements and position papers against the RCEP. You may also add your voice to broad sectors opposing RCEP (Read the position paper here: https://peasantmovementph.com/…/no-to-rcep-dont-make…/).
This People’s Forum on the RCEP is jointly sponsored by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), IBON Foundation, All UP Academic Employees Union (AUPAEC), Asia Pacific Research Network (APRN) and the Sama-samang Artista para sa Kilusang Agraryo (SAKA).#