Latest News

Trade rules could impact on regulation of facial recognition technology

January 21, 2020: A New York Times investigation reprinted in the Sydney Morning Herald has reported that an American software company, established by Australian developer Hoan Ton-That, has developed ground-breaking facial recognition software that is being used without any regulation or public scrutiny by both public agencies and private companies in the US.

US economists criticise cosy consensus for free trade agreements but agree that Trump’s tariff wars not the solution

January 13, 2020: Noah Smith recently reported on a debate about US trade policy at an American Economic Association meeting that showed more economists are criticising the “cosy consensus” on corporate-dominated free trade agreements.

US has withdrawn threatened Chinese tariff increases, but details of full deal not published

December 19, 2019: In a reported ‘Phase One’ agreement with China, the US has agreed to ditch its threatened new tariffs of $156 billion on Chinese goods, and has reduced but not removed existing tariffs. In return, China has agreed to buy more US agricultural exports and change its trade practices in the areas of intellectual property, technology transfer, agriculture, financial services and currency.

WTO not dead yet: alternative appeals body set up, but fundamental change needed

December 18, 2019: For the past two years the US Trump administration has imposed unilateral tariffs outside of the rules of the 164-member World Trade Organisation. The WTO, although it has many flaws, is the only multilaterally-agreed rules-based trading system. WTO rules are enforceable through government-to-government disputes, heard by disputes panels whose initial decisions can be appealed to ensure they conform with WTO rules.

New NAFTA deal signed without longer medicine monopolies and with stronger labour rights

December 17, 2019: Following labour and civil society campaigns over the past two years, the US, Canada and Mexico have signed an amended US Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA) which eliminates longer medicine monopolies that would have delayed access to cheaper medicines. The amendments also include stronger protection for labour rights.

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