December 15, 2020: The Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for Australia’s foreign affairs defence and trade policies was tabled in Parliament on December 8.
December 14, 2020: The World Trade Organization TRIPS Council failed to act on December 10, 2020, on the proposal by South Africa and India to temporarily waive some intellectual property rights, so that Covid-19 medical products and vaccines could be more easily accessible, especially for low-income countries.
The Report 192 of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) Inquiry on the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement was quietly tabled in Parliament on the night of Tuesday December 8. The government has a majority on the Committee.
December 7, 2020: An Open Letter from the World Federation of Public Health Associations to the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and to the UN Secretary-General is aimed at a breakthrough on access to vaccines at the December 9 session of the TRIPS Council of the WTO.
December 1, 2020: Any COVID-19 vaccines need to be freely accessible to all countries, but this requires a waiver to some World Trade Organisation rules, argues Rachel Thrasher, a Research Fellow at Boston’s Global Development Policy Center.
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.
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).
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.