Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) on the lives and livelihoods of Asia's indigenous peoples and farmers as well as food safety and security in the region covers a larger group since it binds the 10-member ASEAN and six non-ASEAN countries - including China - with a combined population of over 3.5 billion while the well known 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) signed on 4 February this year only covers the region's 800 million people,
Represetatives of developing countries need to be aware that RCEP be made friendlier to their needs, as negotiations for the RCEP like the TPPA – are also taking place behind closed doors and without the participation of all stakeholders (farmers, unions, indigenous peoples, health advocates, and other members of civil society, etc.) who must be invited and given a voice and full say in the deliberations for long term sustainability of rural urban communities.
Texts leaked from the RCEP negotiations indicate a strong push is being made to further increase the power of MNC seed companies, in contrast the rural poor needs:
· criminalise seed saving and exchange also
· restrictions on seed saving and exchange at a time when, under the extreme pressures of climate change, farmers need more diversity in their fields, not less;
· increase farmers' dependence on external inputs and raise their risks and costs of production, as well as result in increased seed prices and non availability of locally adapted seeds
· if seeds or traditional knowledge are compiled into databases and made available, MNCs like Monsanto and Syngenta could appropriate the knowledge and genetic resources of farming and indigenous communities.
The full GRAIN report can be read and downloaded here: https://www.grain.org/article/entries/5405-new-mega-treaty-in-the-pipeline-what-does-rcep-mean-for-farmers-seeds-in-asia,
also at: www.grain.org/e/5405