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Civil society urges more government action for equitable global access to COVID medical products

MEDIA RELEASE   August 9, 2022: National fair trade, public health, human rights and aid and development organisations have written to the Trade Minister and other relevant ministers urging them to take further action to address the continuing shocking global inequity of access to Covid 19 vaccines treatments and other products. While over 80% of people in Australia have had two vaccination, and treatments are now available, only 20% in low income countries have had one vaccination and there is even less access to treatments.

Australia-India Interim Economic Cooperation Agreement submissions due August 19

August 8, 2022: Labor has a policy for a more transparent public and parliamentary process for future trade agreements. See our critique of the current process here and Labor policy here.

However the government  is proceeding with the  very limited Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) review process for the Indian and UK agreements which were signed by the previous government before the election. AFTINET raised the process issues in our submission on the UK FTA and will raise them in our submission on the India FTA.

Should foreign gas companies be able to veto decisions on gas supplies by threatening to sue governments?

 Labor's  policy platform says no, but wil they implement it?.

August 5, 2022: An article in The Conversation with the catchy title ‘ Hey Minister, leave that gas trigger alone” has urged the government not to use the Turnbull government’s “gas trigger” to compel foreign-owned gas companies to keep gas reserves for use in Australia because they could sue the government for billions of dollars. 

EU governments oppose the Energy Charter Treaty as Germany demands Uniper withdraw ISDS case against Netherlands

July 29, 2022Investigate Europe reports that key EU governments still want to leave the Energy Charter Treaty because its rules, known as Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) permit fossil fuel companies to sue governments for billions if they decide to phase out fossil fuel use as part of the EU’s climate pledges.

Community Groups seek public consultation as Indo-Pacific Economic Forum (IPEF) meets virtually in Washington

Media release July 26, 2022: Ministers from 14 member countries of the Indo Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) are meeting virtually in Washington on July 26 and 27. IPEF includes the US, Australia, Brunei, India, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Fiji.

UK FTA faces UK popular opposition and legal challenge over secrecy and lack of consultation

July 20, 2022 :New polling commissioned by UK groups Trade Justice Movement and Global Justice Now has found that 78 per cent of Britons want MPs to debate the pros and cons of new trade deals before they come into force. The House of Commons trade committee has requested the Trade Minister for a full debate before ratification, and criticised its inability to scrutinise the deal properly. This followed an independent report from the Trade and Agriculture Commission  confirming that the trade deal will affect employment in the farm and food sectors and could lower environmental, food safety, and animal welfare standards.

Health experts warn global COVID vaccine inequity persists as Australia has surplus of millions

July 18, 2022: The ABC reports that over the last two years, the  Federal government purchased 255 million vaccines from four pharmaceutical companies, with 60 million administered around the country, and roughly 40 million doses donated around the Indo-Pacific region. Even with the expected increased uptake of third and fourth doses over winter, Australia may have a surplus of over 100 million doses, some of which are due to expire.

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