Dr. Eduardo Tadem writes commentary on RCEP implications to ASEAN

(Graphic by Ace Vincent Molo)

Dr. Eduardo C. Tadem, Convenor of the Program on Alternative Development (AltDev) of the UP Center for Integrative and Development Studies (UP CIDS) and retired professor of Asian Studies, discussed the implications of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in a commentary published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer on November 24.

In the commentary, Dr. Tadem points out that while the RCEP envisions an economic partnership that will hasten economic growth among the ten ASEAN member states, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, the exclusion of the United States and India from the agreement will lead to “the imagined trade benefits from the RCEP [being] greatly reduced” and “will only foster dependency relations and make Asean regional integration even more unattainable.” Bringing the perspective of civil society, he adds that the RCEP, especially in the context of the ASEAN members’ struggle with COVID-19, “exposes the asymmetries that exist among the parties to the negotiations and could lead to further widening these gaps between the richer nations on the one hand and the poor and most vulnerable countries.” Dr. Tadem concludes his commentary by echoing economist Jomo Sundaram’s call “for multilateral-based international economic agreements that are more development-friendly, and urges developing states to ‘amend legislation and policy in line with their needs, especially for development, not at the behest of corporate lobbyists or geostrategic priorities.'”

Read the full commentary by Dr. Tadem here.