Monday, February 25, 2019: Last month the eleven members of the now-operational Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership invited other interested states to join. So far, seven of the original eleven have ratified. Aspiring new members must have bilateral talks with each of the eleven founder members and all eleven would have to agree to their joining.
Thursday February 21, 2019: Both a European parliamentary trade committee and French President Macron are doing a backflip on earlier decisions that support for the Paris Climate Accord of 2015 is a pre-condition for any new trade agreement. This policy was applied in the recently finalised EU- Japan Free Trade Agreement. But it will not apply in the new trade talks with President Trump which will focus on steel and automobiles.
February 19, 2019: “Secret talks for a mega-trade deal between Australia and 15 Asia-Pacific countries that will cover half the world’s population will resume this week in Bali. While global corporations dominate the agenda, civil society groups and parliaments have been marginalized. The public and parliament will not see the text until after the deal has been signed,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
February 13, 2019: Chakravarthi Raghavan, an esteemed author of several books on the WTO, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former United Nations Assistant Secretary General for Economic Development, have issued a sharp warning to developing countries about the e-commerce initiative recently launched at Davos by a group of rich country governments, including Australia.
February 10, 2019: AFTINET's submission to the JSCOT Inquiry on Australia joining the WTO Government Procurement Agreement argues that the government has not presented any independent assessment of the costs and benefits of Australia joining the agreement, that would justify Australia's accession.
February 5, 2019: Chinese and US trade negotiators meet in Washington again next week to try to reach an agreement to avoid a massively escalated tariff war from March 1. Without a deal, US punitive tariffs on US$200 billion of Chinese imports will go up from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, and China is likely to respond in kind. The US is blocking appointments to the World Trade Organisation appeals body, and threatening to leave the 164-member WTO.
February 4, 2019: US mining company Kappes, Cassiday & Associates’ (KCA) made a US$300 million arbitration claim last December against Guatemala to the World Bank´s International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) over alleged violations of the Central America-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR).
January 29, 2019: The elite business and government World Economic Forum meeting last week was a perfect setting for Australia and 70 other mostly industrialised country governments to announce exclusive plans for an e-commerce trade deal that was rejected after fierce debate by the majority of the 164 WTO members who met in Argentina in December.
January 23, 2019: Yesterday the ABC reported that Clive Palmer has moved ownership of his company to New Zealand, claimed to be an NZ company, and threatened to use an Australia-New Zealand trade agreement to sue Australian taxpayers for $45 billion because he claims the Western Australian government intends to pass legislation that would disadvantage his company.