The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement is currently under negotiation between ASEAN member states plus the six countries that have existing trade agreements with ASEAN. It encompasses Australia, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

RCEP should in principle include investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions.

ISDS proposals have reportedly been tabled by Korea and Japan. They are likely to be similar to those in their own bilateral agreements and in the TPP text. Civil society groups have raised serious concerns over public health and other ‘safeguards’ proposed for ISDS in the TPP and argued that ISDS should be excluded in order to protect health, environment and other public interest regulations.

India and China are likely to table different proposals or concept papers based on their own experience. The Indian government is currently considering a revised draft bilateral investment treaty that reduces investor rights compared to other version of ISDS.

(November 2015)

AFTINET | 14-Sep-2015
While RCEP was initially framed as an agreement that would be more flexible for low and middle income countries, there is evidence that some governments from industrialised countries are seeking to pursue aspects which would be very damaging for developing countries.

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