July 16, 2020: A new paper written by Deborah James of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research and published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation argues that giant tech corporations are trying to use trade rules to collect more data, exercise more control over people’s lives and over their workers, and amass ever more profit.
July 15, 2020: In an overwhelming vote on July 10, 2020, the European Parliament supported a World Health Organization initiative to create the Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), which would collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to combat Covid-19 and ensure they are accessible to all..
July 14, 2020: Canadian company Barrick Gold announced on July 10 that its Australian subsidiary, Barrick Australia Pty Ltd, is invoking the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions of a bilateral investment treaty between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia over the PNG government’s refusal to grant an extension of the company’s expired permit at the controversial Porgera Joint Venture gold mine in the PNG highlands.
July 13, 2020: In a blunt statement issued on July 6, 2020, Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich of Luxembourg, and Cardinal Charles Maung Bo of Yangon, Myanmar, added their names to a statement by 110 Catholic Bishops calling on governments to better regulate private corporations, and said the European Union must lead the way.
July 9, 2020: US pharmaceutical giant Gilead has filed five patent applications for a 20-year monopoly on the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug remdesivir in Argentina. Remdesivir is the first drug approved globally to treat people infected with COVID-19. If the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) rejects the patent, it would be a significant step toward Argentina being able to manufacture remdesivir locally at a reduced price.
July 8, 2020: This inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is the result of negotiations between the ALP and the government about passing the enabling legislation for the Indonesia FTA.
The terms of reference are broad enough for a public debate about the secrecy of trade negotiations, the lack of independent assessment of trade deals and the need for change.
July 7, 2020: Prairie Mining, an Australian company using third-party funding from another Australian company, Litigation Capital Management, has announced an investment treaty claim against Poland over the obstruction of two coal projects. An LCM subsidiary in London has provided A$18 million to finance the action. LCM will get a profitable investment return if Prairie Mining wins the case.
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.