International civil society asks Japanese Government for stakeholder engagement at 17th RCEP negotiations in Kobe

JPEG - 63.7 kb

8 February 2017

International civil society asks Japanese Government for stakeholder engagement at 17th RCEP negotiations in Kobe

The 17th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation will be held in Kobe from the coming Feb. 27 to Mar.3. Over 600 negotiators from 16 countries are coming to Japan, and it is said that they will proceed with negotiations in each field. However, it is inevitable that the information disclosure and explanation by the Japanese government as a host country.

We, international civil society submitted “An International open letter to Japanese Government To have Stakeholder Meeting in 17th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation in Kobe” to The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Japan, which is in charge of RCEP negotiation.

Totally 102 organizations signed this letter, 23 from Japan and 79 from overseas in just one week.

Civil society in all RCEP countries are facing a lack of information about the negotiations and are concerned that their economy and society, people’s life, access to medicine, environment would be harmed by RCEP. Stakeholder meeting is essential for us/our representatives to deliver our voices and concerns to negotiators directly and discuss with them.

Full text of this letter

To Prime Minister of Japan, Shizo Abe
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, Fumio Kishida

An International open letter to Japanese Government
To have Stakeholder Meeting in 17th Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiation in Kobe

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has been negotiated for three years (16 rounds) among the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and ASEAN’s free trade agreement (FTA) Partners (Japan, China, India, Korea, Australia, New Zealand). According to the guiding principles for the negotiations, RCEP aims to achieve ‘a modern, comprehensive, high-quality and mutually beneficial partnership agreement’. It broadly covers trade in goods, trade in services, investment, economic and technical cooperation, intellectual property, competition, dispute settlement and other issues.

These matters all affect the daily lives of the peoples of all sixteen countries – access to affordable life-saving medicines, stable good quality work, the viability of small farms and businesses, financial stability, environmental protection, climate change mitigation, and much more.

Yet the RCEP negotiation is secret and its process has remained closed to civil society. We understand that commercial interests have been invited to share their views with negotiators at RCEP rounds. On the other side, NGOs and farmers’ organisations, trade unions and civil society groups which have professional knowledge are not included any process of negotiation. We, international civil society are concerned that it is undemocratic for people in all RCEP countries.

It was only three times that “Stakeholder Meetings for civil organizations” have been held during all these negotiations. These were: the 12th round held in Perth, Australia in April 2016, the 13th round held in Auckland, New Zealand in June 2016, and the 16th round held in Jakarta, Indonesia in December 2016. Actually some civil organizations have made proposals for improved stakeholder engagement, and we understand that recently the sixteen RCEP governments have recognized the importance of having stakeholder meetings and we appreciate three host countries’ effort to realize it.

At the same time, we think it is most important that stakeholder meetings should be set as a basic component in every RCEP round. We, international civil organizations had submitted “An open letter to the sixteen governments negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)” in September 2016 which called on RCEP governments to hold stakeholder meetings in every RCEP round in future.

Therefore, we strongly call on the Japanese government as host country to hold a stakeholder meeting in Kobe as has been done in previous rounds, with advance notice of when and where it will be held on a website. And it should be an effective opportunity for all stakeholders to discuss with negotiators.

Civil society in all RCEP countries are facing a lack of information about the negotiations and are concerned that their economy and society, people’s life, access to medicine, environment would be harmed by RCEP. Stakeholder meeting is essential for us/our representatives to deliver our voices and concerns to negotiators directly and discuss with them.

Japan is a developed country and has the second largest economy next to China of the RCEP countries. And Japan has been contributing to reducing poverty and realising sustainable development in Asia, granting Official Development Assistance (ODA)to many Asian countries and working for UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) .

It is already commonly known to have a positive effect in the field of international cooperation and development assistance for government and civil society groups to discuss and plan better policy together. It is needed to adopt this methodology for trade and investment issues. Japanese government is responsible for holding stakeholder meeting which is open for international civil society.

January 28, 2017

Signatory civil society organizations
1 Japan Family Farmers Movement Japan
2 Pacific Asia Resource Center(PARC) Japan
3 Advocacy and Monitoring Network on Sustainable Development (AMnet) Japan
4 Friends of the Earth Japan Japan
5 Dialogues between Citizens and Government, National committee Japan
6 TPP Osaka Network for citizens Japan
7 National Coalition of Workers, Farmers and Consumers for Safe Food and Health, Japan Japan
8 People’s Action against TPP Japan
9 PSI (Public Service International) - APRO Japan
10 Nationl Coalition against TPP Japan
11 Citizen’s Bond Japan
12 Workers Collective "Pro bono" Japan
13 Mamademo Japan
14 Salt Nagoya Japan
15 Research Institute of Water Japan
16 Natty One Japan
17 NAMAENONAI SHINBUN Japan
18 Citizen’s Action for protect Japanese Constitution Japan
19 Mekong Watch Japan
20 Greens Japan Japan
21 Bancho clinic Japan
22 Japan International Volunteer Center (JVC) Japan
23 People’s Economic Cooperation in the Region(PECR) Japan
24 GRAIN Global
25 Asia Pacific Research Network Regional
26 Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD) Regional
27 Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network Australia
28 People’s Health Movement Australia Australia
29 Public Health Association of Australia Australia
30 Friends of the Earth Australia Australia
31 Bangladesh Krishok Federation Bangladesh
32 Maruf Barkat Bangladesh
33 Equity BD Bangladesh
34 Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA) Bangladesh
35 Association des droits de la femme Burundi
36 SOLIDARITE DES FEMMES POUR LE BIEN テ概RE SOCIAL ET LE PROGRES Burundi
37 Cambodian Grassroots Cross-sector Network Cambodia
38 Social Action for Change Cambodia
39 Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) Hongkong
40 Asia Pacific Students and Youth Association (APSYA) Hongkong
41 ITPC South Asia India
42 Delhi Network of Positive People India
43 Association for promotion sustainable development India
44 FOCUS ON THE GLOBAL SOUTH INDIA
45 Citizen News Service India
46 Public Advocacy Initiatives for Rights and Values in India India
47 Beyond Copenhagen, India India
48 FDI Watch India
49 Janpahal India
50 Forum Against FTAs india
51 SERUNI Indonesia
52 Indonesia for Global Justice Indonesia
53 Institute for National and Democracy Studies (INDIES) Indonesia
54 Resistance and Alternatives to Globalization.(RAG) Indonesia
55 Solidaritas Perempuan (Women’s Solidarity for Human Rights) Indonesia
56 WALHI/Friends of the Earth Indonesia Indonesia
57 Kesatuan Nelayan Tradisional Indonesia Indonesia
58 Indonesia AIDS Coalition (IAC) Indonesia
59 Ibon International Kenya
60 Fahamu Africa Kenya
61 Center for Sustainable Development in Malawi Malawi
62 Consumers’ Association of Penang Malaysia
63 Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends’ of the Earth, Malaysia) Malaysia
64 The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) Asia-Pacific Regional Office Malaysia
65 Positive Malaysian Treatment Access & Advocacy Group (MTAAG+) Malaysia
66 Persatuan Aktivis Sahabat Alam (KUASA) Malaysia
67 Third World Network Malaysia
68 Alliance for Tax and Fiscal Justice Nepal Nepal
69 All Nepal Women Association Nepal
70 All Nepal Peasants Federation Nepal
71 National Women Peasants Association, Nepal Nepal
72 Nepal Youth Peasants Association Nepal
73 Rural Reconstruction Nepal Nepal
74 South Asia Peasants Coalition Nepal
75 South Asia Food Sovereignty Network Nepal
76 Forum of Protection of Public Interest (Pro Public) Nepal
77 Its Our Future New Zealand
78 Professor Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland New Zealand
79 New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi New Zealand
80 Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants (APMM) Philippines
81 National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) Philippines
82 UNI-Philippine Liaison Council (UNI-PLC) Philippines
83 Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) Philippines
84 Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research, Inc. (EILER) Philippines
85 Center for Environmental Concerns Philippines
86 Computer Professionals’ Union Philippines
87 Center for Women’s Resources (CWR) Philippines
88 Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center,.—Kasama sa Kalikasan/Friends of the Earth Philippines (LRCKSK/FoE Phils) Philippines
89 Korea Federation for Environmental Movement Republic of Korea
90 Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia
91 Russian Social-Ecological Union Russia
92 UNI Apro Singapore
93 Knowledge Commune South Korea
94 Center for Environmental justice Sri lanka
95 We Women Lanka SriLanka
96 MSF Access Campaign Switzerland
97 AIDS Access Foundation Thailand
98 Foundation for AIDS Rights Thailand
99 FTA Watch Thailand
100 Thai Drug Watch Thailand
101 Thai Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS Thailand
102 Centre for Sustainable Community Development (S-CODE) Vietnam

keywords:
source: