November 12, 2020: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal between Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the ten ASEAN countries* will be signed online at the ASEAN Summit on Sunday, with much fanfare from governments about its size and potential economic benefits.
But India left the negotiations in November last year, which means the agreement is worth less to Australia, since Australia already has bilateral or regional free trade agreements with all the other RCEP countries.
November 11, 2020: UN Human Rights Experts on November 9 called on the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic to base their response on the bedrock human-rights based principles of international solidarity, cooperation and assistance.
November 9, 2010: The Australian government recently announced new spending of A$500 million over three years to ensure provide COVID-19 vaccines and immunisation technical support to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati in the Pacific, and Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam in south-east Asia.
November 3, 2020: The controversial PACER-Plus trade deal between Australia, New Zealand and initially 14 Pacific Island countries will come into force for only eight countries in December.
November 2, 2020: A new report by Human Rights Watch (HRW) – Whoever Finds the Vaccine Must Share It - shows the grave danger of failure to provide COVID-19 vaccines universally and fairly, as the global community witnesses a third wave of the pandemic in the northern winter.
October 28, 2020: The Regional Economic Comprehensive Partnership (RCEP), a massive trade deal negotiated in secret, is expected to be signed on 14 November 2020, by hologram!
The RCEP involves Australia, China, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea plus the 10 ASEAN countries: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam. It will cover 2.2 billion people – almost 30% of the world’s population.
October 20, 2020: South Africa and India called on the World Trade Organisation on October 2, 2020, to waive intellectual property rules that could impeded access to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 pandemic programs.
October 13, 2020: The 15-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership will hold its 10th Ministerial Meeting on the sidelines of the 37th ASEAN Summit, scheduled for November 11-15, 2020, hosted online by Viet Nam. The reported date for signing the RCEP is November 14. RCEP negotiations began in 2012, and India decided to withdraw in November 2019.