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. ###
Ph negotiators told to review position on China-led RCEP
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Monday urged the Filipino negotiators in the 18th meeting of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to review the guidelines and context of the inter-regional free trade and economic pact before ratifying into agreements.
The 18th RCEP meeting, which is being hosted by the Philippines started on May 2 and will end on May 12. The country’s main negotiator on the meeting is the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
RCEP is China-led mega-regional free trade agreement that covers half of the world’s population, 38% of the world economy and nearly 30% of the world’s trade volume. China aims to reach the agreement by the end of 2017 or early 2018. It is Beijing’s counter free trade agreement to U.S.-led Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement which U.S. President Donald Trump has recently pulled out.
For its part, the fisherfolk group expresses doubt on why the RCEP is being negotiated in secret like the TPP and other past free trade agreements. The group said it is the prerogative of the public to be involved in a pre-consultation before entering into any agreement especially if it involves the country’s economic affairs. Past free trade agreements that were also secretly negotiated surprised the people that their sovereign and economic rights were already compromised and sold to powerful nations that lead the trade pact.