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AFTINET says no to trade negotiations with UAE, based on new evidence of continued human rights and labour rights violations

21 February, 2024: The Australian government announced last year in December that it would proceed with negotiations for a trade agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), after a pause in negotiations begun under the previous government.

A missed opportunity for accessible medicines: WTO drops TRIPS waiver extension

15 February, 2024: After more than a year and a half of negotiations on extending the June 2022 decision on for a partial waiver on some aspects of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has formally announced that it is dropping discussions. This comes as a blow to countries such as India and South Africa which have been advocating for a TRIPS waiver extension to allow the production of more accessible COVID medicines.

New patent rules in India-UK trade agreement will prioritise pharmaceutical profit over public health

13 February, 2024: The UK is fighting hard to include additional protections for patents on medicines in a nearly completed trade agreement with India, “tighten[ing] the screws” on India’s generic medicines production which is a crucial source of cheap, accessible medicines across the globe.

Mexico sued for billions after rejecting marine mine due to environmental concerns

12 February, 2024: As reported by the Guardian, Mexico is currently facing a US$2.36 billion Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) case from US company Odyssey Marine Exploration after rejecting a seabed mining permit due to environmental concerns. The permit would have allowed Odyssey Marine Exploration to dredge nearly 270,000 hectares of shallow Mexican coastline for phosphate.

New policy brief finds that the TRIPS waiver extension is a chance for the WTO to increase access to medicines and retain legitimacy

10 February, 2024: A policy brief by Rachel Thrasher from Boston University  asserts that the upcoming World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference (MC13) is a crucial window for WTO members to act to increase access to medicines by extending the Waiver to the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

Parliamentary report recommends increased transparency in trade agreement processes, but more remains to be done

February 7, 2024  AFTINET Media Release 

“AFTINET welcomes the main conclusions of the Interim Report of the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Australian government’s approach to negotiating trade agreements - that the process should be more transparent for stakeholders, parliament and the public,” Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convener, said today.

AFTINET’s submission to the general review of the CPTPP calls for removal of international investor rights to sue governments

5 February, 2024: AFTINET’s submission to the general review of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) calls for the removal of ISDS provisions and stronger commitments to human rights, labour rights, women’s rights, Indigenous rights and environmental standards.

International Chamber of Commerce former arbitrator says ISDS has “lost battle of public opinion” and “legitimacy”

1 February, 2024: In a lecture earlier this month Alexis Mourre, the former president of one of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) arbitration systems, run by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) said that defenders of ISDS had been “defeated” by civil society movements and “lost the battle of public opinion," and, "to a large extent, the battle of legitimacy."

US retracts support for equity provisions in recent WHO Pandemic Agreement negotiations

31 January, 2024:  In recent Pandemic Agreement negotiations at the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US has rejected proposals to loosen intellectual property rules in the event of a future health emergency. These rules prevent developing countries from quickly making affordable versions of vaccines and other medicines in a future pandemic.