Latest News

Wealthy countries block COVID-19 drugs rights waiver at WTO – but claim to support universal access at the G20

November 23, 2020: The United States, the European Union and other mainly wealthy nations gathered in Geneva on November 21, 2020, to reiterate their opposition to a proposal to waive intellectual property rules for COVID-19 drugs, according to a Reuters report, despite pressure to make an exception to improve access to these drugs for poorer countries.

RCEP impact on Developing Countries – regional webinar

November 18, 2020: Just a few days prior to the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), economic experts, business owners, civil society organisations and parliamentarians expressed their concerns about its impact on developing countries in a regional webinar.

The webinar was organised by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (APWLD), Public Services International (PSI), and Indonesia for Global Justice (IDJ).

RCEP text explained

November 17, 2020: Dr Patricia Ranald's explainer article on the RCEP text has been published in The Conversation here.  The article notes that  RCEP rules could impede local industry development needed to recover from the COVID- 19 crisis, that it will restrict government regulation of essential services and that the RCEP has no commitment to labour rights and environmental standards.

RCEP trade deal could impede-post COVID local industry recovery and ignores labour rights and environmental standards

Media release  November 14, 2020:  “The giant RCEP trade deal will be signed tomorrow by Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries (but without India) with great fanfare about its claimed economic benefits. But the deal was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not been revised in the light of lessons from the pandemic. Like previous trade deals the RCEP  restricts local industry policies,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

Giant RCEP trade deal to be signed without India, Sunday November 15, no labour rights or environmental standards

November 12, 2020: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal between Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the ten ASEAN countries* will be signed online at the ASEAN Summit on Sunday, with much fanfare from governments about its size and potential economic benefits.

But India left the negotiations in November last year, which means the agreement is worth less to Australia, since Australia already has bilateral or regional free trade agreements with all the other RCEP countries.

UN Human Rights Experts tell governments, WTO, IMF and Big Pharma to ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines

November 11, 2020: UN Human Rights Experts on November 9 called on the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic to base their response on the bedrock human-rights based principles of international solidarity, cooperation and assistance.

Australia increases COVID-19 vaccine support to Pacific Islands and SE Asia, but opposes trade rule changes on vaccines

November 9, 2010: The Australian government recently announced new spending of A$500 million over three years to ensure provide COVID-19 vaccines and immunisation technical support to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati in the Pacific, and Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam in south-east Asia.

Pages