The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between ASEAN countries and six Asia-Pacific countries. Indonesia is the ASEAN coordinator for RCEP and has led recent negotiations for RCEP. It is hoped to complete the deal this year. RECP is expected to contain a detailed IP chapter, incorporating a TRIPS+ model, that is IP provisions designed to go beyond TRIPS.

However concern has been expressed whether Indonesia is adequately prepared to do this. As it is there are current concerns about how robust Indonesia’s implementation of TRIPS is.  The USTR Special 301 report and Europe’ IP report on Third Countries both cite concerns about weak existing IP protection. Some of the areas where compatibility with RECP is not yet close include:

  • Non traditional trademarks,
  • E-filing
  • Patentability of new forms and uses of known substances
  • Copyright term

The upshot of the differences between Indonesia’s current IP laws and RCEP is that all of Indonesian’s IP laws will need to be amended again. The process for amending the laws started in 2012 and has not yet finished (the Industrial Designs law amendments are not yet passed). It is generally a very long process to pass laws in Indonesia. 

Hopefully RCEP will provide an impetus to improve the IP enforcement more and more quickly.