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Collapse of the Australia-EU FTA negotiations should not open the door to deals without human rights and environmental commitments

29 November, 2023: Following the collapse of the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last month, there is some media speculation that the Albanese government might attempt to bolster its free trade agenda by reviving  a trade deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite its poor human rights and labour rights record.

ISDS undermines urgent government action to combat climate change

Senior Lecturer at La Trobe Law School Julia Dehm explains how special rights for foreign investors in trade agreements, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) threaten urgent government action to combat climate change. ISDS enables investors such as Clive Palmer to challenge court decisions which protect the right of governments to regulate to reduce carbon emissions and to protect human rights.

Read her post here:

IPEF supply chain deal signed but trade pillar not completed

November 15, 2023: Trade Ministers from the 14 countries of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) who met this week in San Francisco have signed an agreement to improve supply chain cooperation, known as IPEF Pillar 2. Reports indicate IPEF heads of government may announce on Friday that the environment and anti-corruption pillars have made progress  and that talks on the trade pillar may continue. However, there is uncertainty about whether IPEF negotiations will continue during the US presidential election campaign next year. 

Clive Palmer uses another trade agreement to sue Australia, again, for $A69 billion over refusal of Waratah coal mine permit

14 November, 2023: Billionaire Clive Palmer has given notice to the Australian government that his Singapore-based company Zeph investments is using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) process in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to claim an additional A$69 billion in compensation because the Queensland Land Court refused permits for its Waratah coal mining project in North Queensland. The permits were refused for environmental reasons, including their contribution to increased carbon emissions.

US government responds to demands to regulate big tech in WTO and IPEF negotiations

9 November, 2023: Amid ongoing public debate about how to better regulate the technology industry the US has withdrawn some digital trade demands at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) made in 2019 under the Trump administration. Those advocating for tighter controls on Big Tech have said this marked a positive step in defining global digital standard-setting and pushing back at US tech industry lobbyists’ use of trade deals to undercut government regulation.

200+ US civil society groups call for Biden to terminate ISDS provisions in US trade agreements

6 November, 2023: More than 200 civil society groups have called for the Biden administration to exit Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions in its existing trade agreements stating the provisions threatened the US’ actions towards a clean energy transition.

ISDS is a special provision in some trade agreements. ISDS can be used by multinational corporations to claim billions in compensation if they can argue that a change in law or policy would reduce their future profits. This includes changes intended to protect health, labour rights, and the environment.