Media Releases

New COVID strain postpones WTO meeting, confirms need to change WTO rules to share vaccine knowledge and increase global vaccine production

Media Release November 27, 2021: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting.

Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today:

“The postponement of the WTO Ministerial Meeting exposes the shocking failure of the WTO for over a year to agree to share vaccine knowledge and increase global vaccine production to ensure access in low-income countries. This new strain of the virus is a direct result of vaccination rates below 5% in African low-income countries, where millions are dying and new strains are developing.”

Media Release: ‘Each-way bet’: Trade Minister declines to co-sponsor waiver on COVID vaccine monopolies

November 4: On the eve of an important World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting on intellectual property this week, the Government has revealed that Australia will not co-sponsor a proposal to waive commercial monopolies on COVID19 vaccines, as Shadow Trade Minister Madeleine King MP and campaigners have urged.

Global civil society demands access to vaccines and broader reforms ahead of the WTO Ministerial Conference

29 September 2021: As the COVID pandemic continues to devastate low-income countries, 206 major civil society groups have called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to change WTO rules for monopolies on vaccines that result in “vaccine apartheid”, and to work towards “a new vision of multilateralism which will result in ecological stability and shared prosperity”. The WTO is preparing for a Ministerial meeting in November.

National organisations urge PM to act against vaccine monopolies at President Biden’s vaccines summit and Quad meeting this week

Media Release                                                                            September 22, 2021

National public health, church, union, human rights, aid and development and environment organisations today called on the Prime Minister to support the proposal to waive WTO rules for vaccine monopolies in global talks this week, and show its support by becoming a formal sponsor.

JSCOT Committee report on RCEP acknowledges deep flaws, but supports implementation

Media Release                          September 1, 2021

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has released its Report 196 on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries including Myanmar and the Philippines.

RCEP trade deal: Organisations representing millions urge Labor and cross-benchers to delay vote and support changes

August 20, 2021 Media Release

“Thirteen national organisations representing millions of Australians have written letters to Labor and cross-bench parliamentarians arguing that the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal fails the human rights test and should be changed before the parliament votes on the implementing legislation,” Dr Patricia Ranald, AFTINET Convenor, said today.

National church and civil society groups urge government to support WTO rule change for fair vaccine access for low-income countries

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                         July 19, 2021

An unusually wide range of national church, public health, aid and development and other civil society groups representing millions of Australians today sent the attached open letter to Government Ministers. The letter urges them to support the proposal for a temporary waiver of patent monopolies on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments that will be discussed at a key meeting of the World Trade Organisation on July 20.

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