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Sovereign Debt for Low Income Countries Must Be Cancelled to Tackle Coronavirus Crisis, Say Australian CSOs

Emergency finance must not add to debt burdens
Process to reduce debts to sustainable level in future also needed

Media Release April 8, 2020: A group of Australian civil society organisations (CSOs) released a statement today calling for the Australian Government to support the cancellation of external debt payments in 2020 for Low Income Countries to help them fight the coronavirus.

Australia needs to step up medical aid for Pacific Island nations

April 2, 2020: Australia’s policy to the Pacific Island nations has been erratic over the last decade. The focus from 2009 was to impose the PACER-Plus free trade agreement onto the region. Negotiations dragged through to 2017, but three years later it has still not been ratified by most Pacific Island Countries and is not in force. The COVID-19 pandemic underlines the need for a profound re-think of the relationship.

Fast-tracked Singapore digital deregulation agreement completed, but text will be secret until after signing

March 30, 2020: Australia and Singapore concluded the text of a Digital Economy Agreement (DEA) on March 23. There is a summary on the DFAT website but the full text will not be released until after it has been legally checked and signed, which could take at least 1-2 months.

The agreement will replace the e-commerce chapter in the Singapore-Australia FTA.

AFTINET submission on Pacific Island trade urges government to acknowledge flaws in PACER Plus and prioritise climate and development issues

 March 23, 2020: The AFTINET submission to the government inquiry on trade relationships with the Pacific Islands recommends that the Australian government cease trying to promote Pacer Plus in its current form, which excludes countries with over 80% of Pacific Island economic output and is not an effective regional agreement. Instead the government should conduct a fundamental review of the terms of Pacer Plus based on listening to the real concerns of Pacific island countries about the impacts of climate change as well as imbalances in the trade relationship.

 

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