February 1, 2021: World Health Organisation Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told a briefing on January 29, “If we hoard vaccines and we are not sharing, there will be three major problems. One, I have said it, it will be a catastrophic moral failure and two it keeps the pandemic burning and three very slow global economy recovery”.
January 27, 2021: Incoming US President Joe Biden has cancelled a vital permit for the environmentally contentious Keystone XL pipeline proposed to take Canadian tar sands to refineries in Texas. This decision to protect the environment could trigger a compensation claim under Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ISDS.
January 25, 2021: The Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce has commissioned a team of economists affiliated with Harvard University, the University of Maryland and Istanbul’s Koc University, to examine trade data across 35 industries in 65 countries, which explores the economic impacts of unequal COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
January 21, 2021: Incoming US President Joe Biden has immediately issued Executive Orders which reverse major Trump policies over the last four years, beginning with re-joining the World Health Organisation and plans to address deadly COVID-19 pandemic, reversing his environmental agenda including re-joining the Paris Climate Agreement, cancelling his anti-immigration policies, bolstering the economy and restoring federal efforts to promote diversity.
International trade agreements didn’t feature.
January 19, 2021: The World Trade Organisation TRIPS Council is today debating again the proposal by India and South Africa, supported by 100 countries, to waive various intellectual property provisions on COVID technology. Big Pharma has defended its 20-year monopoly on new medicines and the MSF medicine access movement has rebutted their claims.
January 14, 2021: A new study published by Focus on the Global South maps the rapid global growth of digital technology and trade, and the Big Tech firms that are amongst the world’s largest. US firms Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook dominate global markets but are being challenged by Chinese firms like Alibaba and Tencent, resulting in a technology cold war between US and China.
January 13, 2021: Medicines experts Professors Ronald Labonte and Brook Baker explain in The Conversation why 100 developing country members of the World Trade Organisation’s 164 members are demanding a temporary waiver of some intellectual property rights, supported by hundreds of public health and other community organisations.
What’s really in the RCEP? - experts discuss - video
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership text was released
on November 15.
The AFTINET Zoom Seminar on December 15, 2020, was our first look at the devil in the detail.
You can look at short 7-9 minute videos of the presentations:
January 7, 2021: The European Union and the British government finally came to an agreement about trade in goods on Christmas Eve 2020, which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The United Kingdom has now separated from the European Union, Common Market and Customs Union.
December 18, 2020: The Guardian reports that Clive Palmer’s Singapore-based company, established only in 2019, has acted on his threat to sue the Commonwealth Government for billions of dollars using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (SDS) clauses in the Singapore-Australia free trade agreement.