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India urged to stand firm against RCEP drafts on medicine and investor rights to sue governments

Monday, March 18, 2019: Third World Network Researcher Prathibha Sivasubramanian has pointed out the strong policy clash between India and leaked chapters in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership over medicine patents and investor rights to sue governments (ISDS). She urged India’s government to stand by its policies.

Explainer - Indonesia - Australia Free Trade Agreement

Wednesday March 6, 2019: Dr Patricia Ranald's article in The Conversation explains that the new Indonesia - Australia Comprehensive Partnership Agreement has no independent assessment of costs and benefits.  There are no chapters committing both governments to United Nations standards for labour rights and the environment to prevent a race to the bottom. But it does have a chapter allowing foreign investors to sue governments if the investor can argue that a new law or policy has harmed their investment (ISDS). And it greatly increases the number of working holiday visas to be issued to Indonesian workers despite the evidence that many of these workers face grave exploitation in Australia. All of these issues contradict the new Labor Party trade policy.

RCEP Ministerial talks: Farmers, civil society bodies warn against patenting seeds and plants

March 5, 2019: Forty-one Indian farmer and civil society organisations have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressing that India should not agree to proposals on intellectual property (IP) on seeds and plants at the on-going Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) negotiations.

Indian draft National e-Commerce Policy breaks new ground

Wednesday, February 27, 2019: Rich countries including Australia decided at the recent World Economic Forum meeting at Davos to push for an E-Commerce Agreement in the World Trade Organisation. Their formula is for ‘free digital trade’, for rules that suit global digital corporations – notably Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple. This push has been strongly criticised by consumer and civil society groups.

Experts warn of TPP-11 downsides for ASEAN countries and South Korea

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.

European Civil Society condemns EU backflip on Climate Accord and trade

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.

Community groups say no mandate for RCEP corporate rights agenda as secret trade deal talks resume

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.

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