Tag Archive for: Indonesia

Carrying placards calling for the rejection of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP), activists managed to slip past the tight security of Nusa Dua Complex in Bali, Indonesia to conduct a protest in front of the Bali International Convention Center where the RCEP Trade Negotiating Committee is holding its 25th negotiation round.

Joining the protest were members of Front Mahasiswa Nasional (FMN/National Students’ Front), Aliansi Mahasiswa Papua (Papuan Student Alliance), Serikat Perempuan Indonesia (SERUNI/Indonesian Women’s Union), and People Over Profit – Indonesia.

Inside the convention center representatives of people’s organizations and civil society organizations are delivering their statements in a Stakeholder Dialogue with trade negotiators. The delegates echoed the key messages on issues discussed during the CSO forum held prior to the meeting.

Retno Dewi representing Indonesian women’s group SERUNI minced no words in criticizing the conduct of negotiations for the trade pact. “You have kept us blind; you have kept the details of this deal a secret. For that reason alone, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement or RCEP deserves an unequivocal rejection from women, and all the other sectors here present now,” Dewi said.

Andrew Zarate of APRN slammed the evident corporate interests behind the new trade deal. According to Zarate “signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will further seal the control of ASEAN economies by the few powerful corporate elites that influenced most of RCEP’s chapters.”

RCEP will galvanize labor contractualization schemes, push down wages, and erode labor standards won by the workers themselves. RCP will destroy what’s left of our local industries resulting to forced migration and labor export.

“In this same chapter, corporations would weild the power to sue our governments in investor-state dispute settlement tribunals, question laws that promote people’s welfare, and when they win, reap billions from people’s taxes,” he added.

Kartini Samon of GRAIN aired her group’s opposition to RCEP’s intellectual property (IP) provisions that would target seeds and other agricultural products. According to Samon RCEP’s IP chapters would only “benefit the seed industry and systematically eliminate local seeds and create dependence of farmers on the seed industry, and create indebtedness.”

The Indonesia AIDS Coalition raised their concern on the proposed extension of patents for life-saving medicines which would inevitably cut or immensely delay the supply of affordable generic medicines.

Another big concern are the provisions on e-commerce which would consolidate the monopoly of tech giants over digital technologies, infrastructure, services, and data. Leaked text of RCEP’s e-commerce provisions reveal that it closely resembles those in the recently signed Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) whose provisions generally reflected the demands of U.S. digital monopolies.

Proposals would allow service suppliers to transfer and process data offshore which include personal and commercial information, this would disarm governments from policing the use, sale and abuse of those data. Furthermore, governments cannot require service providers to use or locate their computing facilities within the client country, discouraging governments to invest in their country’s local digital infrastructure. Restrictions against giving preferences to local firms that develop content using local knowledge and cultural content are also being negotiated.

As governments race to finish negotiations before the year ends, people’s organizations and civil society groups across the region commit to sustain their vigilance and remain at the forefront of opposing the trade deal.

In a students’ forum on RCEP held in Bali’s Udayana University, youth leader Thofu Ajaa of FMN, pledged to conduct more activities to raise the public’s awareness on RCEP and other similar neoliberal trade agreements and economic policies. “Building a popular movement must start from exposing the adverse impacts of neoliberal economic policies on people’s lives and livelihood. The youth must help in all efforts to expose pro-corporate and anti-people trade deals and policies, and to mobilize thousands to oppose them,” said Ajaa.

Watch SERUNI’s Intervention at the RCEP TNC Stakeholder Meeting below:

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Intervention of Retno Dewi (SERUNI)

Intervention of Retno Dewi (SERUNI)

Groups warn intensified landgrabs, unemployment as China fastracks RCEP talks

JAKARTA—Civil society groups and social movements from Indonesia and across Asia Pacific warned of intensified land grabs and unemployment as the 16th round of negotiations for the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) begins in Indonesia from Dec 7-9, 2016.

Protesters from AGRA (Aliansi Geraka Reforma Agraria) marched towards Indonesia Covention Exhibit (ICE) in Tangerang – the venue of the RCEP round of negotiations in Indonesia.

“We expect no less than escalating cases of land grabbing and militarization of our communities, a sharp increase in unemployment, and the continued worsening of poverty in Indonesia once RCEP becomes enforced,” said Rahmat Ajiguna from Aliansi Geraka Reforma Agraria (AGRA).

‘People at the losing end’

The 16-member RCEP trade negotiations officially began in 2011 and recently gained steam after the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) met its untimely demise following Donald Trump’s victory in the US elections.

“Much like the TPP, the RCEP contains provisions that go beyond traditional trade concerns bringing to fore a torrent of devastating impacts on people’s rights while further empowering corporations,” said Lei Covero of IBON International.

“Despite their differences however, it must be made clear that both agreements pose major threats and equally devastating impacts on people’s rights and sovereignty across the region. Despite the seemingly competing interests between two trade pacts – must be made clear that both RCEP and TPP serve as extensions of the WTO,” said People Over Profit Network coordinator and APRN Program Officer, Mark Pascual.

“Whether it’s TPP or RCEP, the people will find no refuge in these FTAs because as long as they are designed to concentrate wealth at the hands of powerful countries, people will always be at the losing end,” said Joan Salvador of GABRIELA – Filipino Women’s Alliance.

‘We shall not let RCEP pass’

“We shall not let RCEP pass. As attacks against our rights become ever more acute, so shall our collective resistance,” said Asian Peasant Coalition Chairperson Chennaiah Poguri.

FPR together with POP and APC staged a protest rally in front of the Indonesia Convention Exhibition (ICE) – the venue of the 16th round of RCEP negotiations to highlight the people’s rejection of RCEP and other FTAs.

“We shall fight RCEP the same way we fought and brought down other Free Trade and Investment Agreements (FTAs) – through the power of mass actions that proved decisive in the fallout of TTIP, TPPA and other FTAs,” added Rudi HB Daman of Front Perjuangan Rakyat (FPR). ###

Indonesia’s President Jokowi has launched the ambitious “100-0-100 Program” with a laudable goal of 100 per cent access to potable water, 0 slums, and 100 per cent access to sanitation for urban inhabitants by 2019. The Cities Without Slums Program (KOTAKU) is a national platform funded by various sources, including central and local governments, the private sector, and various financial institutions. The KOTAKU program has been budgeted as a high priority program in the draft 2017 National Budget (Draft Budget) and in the National Medium Term Development Plan (RPJMN) from 2015 to 2019.

Unfortunately, however, “slum”-related projects in Indonesia have often been plagued with a history of violence, impoverishment and forced resettlement and, for this reason, the official designation of an area as a “slum” may be seen by residents as a preliminary step prior to the violent forced eviction of the inhabitants of the area.

This policy brief published by the Coalition on Monitoring Infrastructure (Koalisi Pemantau Infrastruktur) with which APRN member Institute for National and Democratic Studies (INDIES) is part of. You can read the policy brief here: