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India, South Africa and others call for WTO General Council decision on expansion of WTO decision on COVID vaccines

12 December, 2023: Several nations, including India and South Africa, have requested that World Trade Organisation (WTO) members expand the WTO  June 2022 decision to change some rules on COVID vaccines  to include COVID treatments and tests, saying the risks of COVID remain urgent.

JSCOT Inquiry on amended ANZ-ASEAN agreement submissions due January 16

6 December, 2023: On November 30 the government referred the amended ASEAN Australia-NZ- Free Trade Agreement for review to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT). This is the agreement containing ISDS provisions which are being used by Clive Palmer to sue the Australian government for over $340 billion. The government has a policy to review and remove ISDS provisions in existing agreements. Palmer's cases will proceed but there is some urgency or action to prevent similar cases from Australian or overseas investors.

Fossil fuel companies are still using the ECT to sue EU countries, despite their decision to withdraw from the treaty

4 December, 2023: Despite the EU formally proposing the collective exit of the Energy Charter Treaty in July 2023 and the withdrawal by EU countries including France, Germany and Denmark, the treaty remains in effect and fossil fuel companies are still using it to sue EU countries for

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.