June 13, 2018: US President Donald Trump wrecked the furniture in the ‘global free trade’ shop at last week’s G7 meeting in Canada, making retaliatory tariffs by Canada, Europe and Mexico against US exports inevitable.
June 12, 2018: Malaysia’s new Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir, last Friday made a brief but stunning statement in a media conference in Japan that he will review the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP-11.
Dr Mahathir said he believes weaker economies like Malaysia are at a disadvantage under the current terms, "It is important to take into consideration the level of development of a country."
7 June 2018: The UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has published a policy brief titled, ‘Corporate rent-seeking, market power and inequality: Time for a multilateral trust buster?’.
It notes that increased market concentration and corporate rentierism is driving global income inequality:
Wednesday 6 June 2018: Martin Khor from the Third World Network (TWN) and the Consumer Association of Penang, has urged the new Malaysian government to reconsider support for the TPP-11, and trade policies more generally.
June 4, 2018: Veolia, the giant French corporation which operates in Australia and world-wide, has finally lost its claim against Egypt over a waste management contract dispute in which they claimed compensation for an increase in the minimum wage under a new labour law. Its claim was for €174 million (A$268 million), and was launched in 2012.
June 1, 2018: President Trump last month imposed tariffs on steel and aluminium imports from China and Japan, and has now extended these to Canada, Mexico and the EU. The pretext for these actions is that the aluminium and steel industries are essential to US national security. The US now faces tariff retaliation from all of these countries, as well as legal action through the World Trade Organisation, which is not likely to accept the national security argument.
25 May 2018: Melinda St. Louis from Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch has published a summary of the recent United National Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) meeting on ISDS reform, which was dominated by private lawyers and arbitrators.
23 May, 2018: SBS news reported yesterday that the European Union has authorised negotiations for a free-trade agreement (FTA) between the EU and Australia, as well as the EU and New Zealand. Australian Trade Minister Steve Ciobo told SBS News that he hopes the FTA negotiations will commence ‘very soon’.
18 May 2018: A new book by Canadian writer Joyce Nelson, Bypassing Dystopia: Hope-filled Challenges to Corporate Rule, gives insight into the Canadian government’s dogged support of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). It has been reviewed by journalist Damien Gillis here.
17 May 2018: Business journalist Nic Maclellan has analysed the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCT) report into the PACER-Plus trade deal on Devpolicy blog. He writes, “although the committee recommends that Parliament should ratify PACER-Plus, the report is a telling critique of the treaty’. It concedes that ‘the absence of PNG and Fiji… significantly diminishes the utility of the agreement for Australian businesses’.