22 January 2018: A report published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) last week has revealed that Canada has paid out nearly $220 million in losses under the NAFTA investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (ISDS), and $95 million in legal fees defending against ISDS claims.
January 19, 2018: A new report by Greenpeace, Justice for People and Planet, uses 20 case studies of global corporations to explain how corporate power is being used to violate human rights and environmental rights. The report argues that governments should adopt 10 Principles for Corporate Accountability to curb ‘corporate capture, collusion and impunity’.
January 16, 2018: Bloomberg reports that Japan’s income from monopolies on brands, patents (including medicines) and copyright has jumped by 74% over the past five years to a record high. That is why Japan has replaced the US as the major champion of stronger medicine and copyright monopolies in the TPP-11 and RCEP negotiations.
10 January 2018: As the remaining 11 members of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (now rebranded the ‘Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership’) struggle to reach agreement, some strange reports are appearing in the media.
The Financial Times has reported that the Department for International Trade in the UK has held informal talks about joining the TPP. The UK cannot sign trade deals until it leaves the EU after Brexit, in March 2019.
January 9, 2018: A working group of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) recently held talks to discuss current concerns about the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) scheme, and possible reforms. UNICTRAL is one of the two bodies which provides panels of investment law arbitrators for ISDS disputes.
December 21, 2017: The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has warned that the attempt to revive Trans-Pacific Partnership without the US would still lead to increased numbers of vulnerable temporary migrant workers from at least six countries outside of Australia.
December 14, 2017: The 11th Ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organization (MC11) finished in Buenos Aires this week without a formal agreed Ministerial statement. Here is a link to the remarks by the Director-General. This means there are no formal mandates for new WTO negotiations.
13 December 2017: Over 160 women’s rights groups and allied organisations have urged WTO member governments not to agree to the proposed “Joint Declaration on Trade and Women’s Economic Empowerment”, which they describe as a ‘pink herring’ intended to ‘mask the failures of the WTO and its role in deepening inequality and exploitation’.
December 12, 2017: Fairfax Media has reported that there is ‘growing doubt’ that the Indonesia Australia free trade agreement (Indonesia Australia Comprehensive Economic Agreement or IA CEPA) will be finalised by the end of the year, as intended. Australian and Indonesian trade ministers will meet again in Argentina this week, after failing to conclude negotiations last month in Jakarta.