The RCEP is the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership sponsored by China to create an Asian sphere of interest separate from the US dominated TPPA. We can view it as an enlarged BRICS for Southern Asia but which includes South Korea and Japan, the other regional imperialist power, as well as Australia and New Zealand (see graph above).
Is it an instrument of Chinese imperialism? Yes, but Japan and South Korea are trying to act as stalking horses for US imperialism in inserting corporate investor provisions into the RCEP.
NZ has already capitulated to the TPPA as a semi-colony of the US. Now the NZ ruling class wants to join the RCEP. Like the TPPA we need to add the RCEP to the list of imperialist attacks on NZ economic sovereignty and fight to reject it as a tool of Chinese corporate dominance of the region. We need to take our cue from India the largest semi-colony in the region that is already subordinated to China in the BRICS.
India is holding the line against imperialism rejecting the role of Corporates dominating national sovereignty. If the ‘investor protection’ rules are included then big pharma will attempt to stop India being the main provider of generic drugs eating into their profits.
So we have here an insight into the relative roles of China and India in the world economy. Obama has just visited India to promote a ‘strategic partnership’ with the US. So India as a oppressed country is increasingly subject to rival pressures from the two big imperialist blocs to plunder its resources and extract superprofits.
We can see this reflected in the politics of the ruling Modi Government which is using rabid Hindutva nationalism to divide and rule the masses. As we argued in our last issue the pressure to solve the crisis of imperialism at the expense of the semi-colonies is transmitted downwards by the national bourgeoisies onto the working people.
One of the main demands of the labor movement in all the countries subjected to TPPA and RCEP type ‘partnerships’ must be the rejection of all such agreements as tools of either, or both, US and Chinese imperialism, and a determination to mobilise and coordinate international strike action to stop them!
For a Socialist United States of the Asia-Pacific!