June 29, 2020: Trade Ministers from the 15 states negotiating the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership met virtually on June 23, 2020, but ignored an open letter from AFTINET and a previous letter from 94 community organisations from RCEP countries calling for release of the RCEP text, a pause in the RCEP negotiations and review of the text to ensure that its rules do not restrict government action to save lives during the current and future pandemics.
June 25, 2020, Media Release: “An open letter endorsed by 630 international and national civil society organisations has been sent to Trade Minister Birmingham, warning him that Australia could face a wave of cases from global corporations claiming millions in compensation for actions taken to respond to the pandemic. Corporations can do this using rules in trade deals known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
June 22, 2020: New Zealand with Costa Rica, Fiji, Iceland and Norway launched a new initiative - the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS) – on September 25, 2019, on the fringe of the United Nations General Assembly Leaders Meeting in New York.
June 15, 2020: A Special Issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy focuses on the political economic fallout from the Coronavirus crisis. It contains 26 articles, written by Australian and international authors, each showing how political economic analysis can deepen our understanding of what has been happening. Many also reflect on what can now be done to pursue a more progressive agenda – for more secure jobs, less inequality and a more sustainable environment.
June 11, 2020: The World Trade Organisation appellate body decision against several countries that challenged Australia’s plain packaging law is the final victory in a ten-year battle against tobacco companies’ use of trade and investment law against public health.
June 5, 2020: Thirty-seven countries supported the formal launch on May 29, 2020, of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), an initiative to increase access to knowledge needed to produce vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19. The Pool was first proposed in March by President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica.
June 3, 2020: In an astonishing backdown, the remaining 15 states negotiating for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership reportedly told the Indian government that it could defer any stronger market access commitments, and was welcome to sign the draft agreement in November 2020.