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RCEP & agriculture

The RCEP trade deal will significantly impact agriculture and possibly deepen the damage to food sovereignty caused by previous trade agreements including those of the WTO.

The RCEP would threaten livelihoods in sectors like dairy, meat and other agricultural products by allowing duty free imports of subsidised products from Japan, New Zealand and Australia. India, with 100 million small scale dairy producers, and Vietnam are among the countries that will be most affected.

A leaked IP chapter proposed for the RCEP pushes for accession by all RCEP member states to the 1991 Act of the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV 1991). Among the RCEP’s 16 countries, only seven are members of UPOV– the other nine (including Thailand, India, Indonesia and Philippines) would have to change their laws. UPOV 1991 provides monopoly rights to plant breeder rights at the cost of farmers’ rights. It makes it illegal, even criminal, for farmers to save seeds of protected varieties. CSOs have calculated that as a result of UPOV 1991, seed prices would go up by 200-600% in Thailand and by 400% in the Philippines.

Agrochemical sales and use in the Asia and Pacific region would also be boosted as a result of RCEP’s market access rules expanding trade in goods. Data exclusivity provisions in the IP chapter may also extend the patent protection periods of such products, putting upward pressure on food prices.

Another clear threat is land grabbing. If adopted, the leaked investment chapter and services chapter of RCEP may each provide that RCEP members may not discriminate against foreign corporations that want to buy local farmland. In many RCEP countries, this is not possible under current law and could have serious repercussions for agrarian reform in the region.


date title
China urges RCEP members to include India in trade bloc
A Chinese state-run English daily said, “the countries involved in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership shouldn’t lose the chance to include India."
RCEP: A rural disaster
The disastrous impact of the Indo-Sri Lanka FTA and ASEAN FTA on Indian farmers especially in the plantation sector is well known. RCEP would be worse than ASEAN FTA
Peasants and small scale food producers in India intensify their protest against RCEP free trade agreement
On 24th October and thereafter, thousands of farmers organized under the Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers’ Movement (ICCFM) and ally groups carried out coordinated actions and demonstrations reject RCEP.
Farmers’ organisations call for rejecting RCEP agreement
The leaders of various farmers’ associations in the State have called upon the Union government to reject the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Farmers’nation-wide protests against RCEP go unnoticed
The widespread protests by hundreds of farmers across the country against the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) went unnoticed by and large.
Why the rice trade wants India in the RCEP
The Indian rice trade is keen that the cereal is included as part of the agreement as it could help boost exports.
Karnataka farmers, planters oppose proposed Free Trade Agreement
The farmers from Mandya, Mysuru, Shivamogga, Hassan and other districts staged a massive protest against the proposal as they are apprehensive that the duty-free import of milk products will affect their livelihood.
Telangana farmers plan protests against RCEP on Oct 25
The All-India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC) will organise protests, demanding the Union Government to withdraw from the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Shivamogga Milk Federation, farmers oppose RECP pact, demands exclusion of milk
Shivamogga Milk Federation along with milk producers staged a protest against the inclusion of milk in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Congress to oppose free trade deal, both within and outside parliament
Congress president Sonia Gandhi has decided that the party will stand against the free trade agreement, and is planning to protest the "anti-farmer" trade deal both within Parliament during the winter session.
Don’t sign free-trade agreement, Swadeshi Jagran Manch tells Centre
Activists of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch on Friday urged the the central government not to take the proposed free-trade agreement, the RCEP forward.
India tries to loosen RCEP tangle ahead of Leaders Summit on November 4
Indian negotiators are in Bangkok trying to insert crucial provisions in the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) pact.
RCEP: As deadline looms, trade unions call out dangerous clauses
Negotiators representing 16 countries have been tasked with arriving at an agreement on the controversial Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by October 19 but trade unions say the deal has grave consequences.
RCEP group, India fail to reach a common ground
Trade ministers to meet again on 1 Nov as India’s tough talk on market access continues and negotiators have been asked to resume talks to bridge differences by 19 October.
Trade ministers of RCEP to hold key meet next week
Trade ministers of the 16-nation RCEP grouping will meet in Bangkok on October 10-12, in what could be the last ministerial before a potential deal is sealed in November.
Reducing duty on dairy products would cause major unrest among rural India: SJM
New Zealand and Australia were negotiating "very hard" with India at RCEP-FTA to reduce duty on dairy products so that they can get access to the world’s largest market of dairy products.
Don’t trade our lives away in free trade negotiations
To sign the RCEP and start negotiations on a FTA with the US when the Indian economy is on the brink of economic downturn and needs strong domestic policies is a decision that is not in national or public interest.
Kerala govt calls for movement against RCEP
The proposed agreement will have far-reaching consequences on dairying, agriculture and fishery sector sectors, says State Agriculture Minister
NDDB wants dairy sector out of RCEP negotiations
The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has recommended the government to keep the dairy sector out of the purview of negotiations under the Regional Comprehensive Economic
RCEP talks: New Zealand ready to ease work-visa rules for India
India’s demand for easier movement of workers and professionals is being considered seriously by New Zealand and could be met provided market barriers to the Country’s goods are eased