Fisherfolk says no to RCEP; new face of foreign plunder
Manila, Philippines – Joining hundreds of activist organizations in Mendiola, Manila to oppose the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Thursday slammed the China-backed new free-trade agreement introduced in our country.
The Philippines is hosting the 16 –member RCEP for its 18th Trade Negotiating Committee Meeting at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila.
Unlike past free-trade agreements like the World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia Pacific Economic Partnership (APEC) among others that are led by United States and other Western Countries, RCEP is backed by China who is emerging as a global superpower.
The fisherfolk group said RCEP is no different from Western-led free-trade agreements, it will only further the exploitation of third-world nations to powerful countries by opening up the economies to investments and reduce tariffs and other barriers to imports on all products including raw materials, manufactured goods and services.
“It is tried and tested that unfair and one-sided economic and free-trade deals have prevented backward countries to develop its economy and industry. The main objective of free-trade deals is for the powerful nations to control the weaker economies and expand its geopolitical interests,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said fisherfolk sector bears the brunt past and existing free-trade deals. While the fishing sector remains poorest of the poor in the country and suffers from chronic hunger and food insecurity, tons after tons of marine products are being served in a silver platter to foreign markets as dictated by these free-trade deals.
“We oppose the RCEP and other foreign free-trade agreements because it will only worsen the poverty among backward countries like the Philippines. China, U.S. and other powerful nations use these free-trade agreements to expand and maintain their hegemony across the globe at the cost the sovereign rights of the people,” ended Hicap. ###