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.
11 December, 2017: As the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Meeting begins in Buenos Aires, the Our World is Not for Sale network of over 250 civil society organisations has condemned the banning of selected activists and called for fairer trade rules for developing countries.
7 December, 2017: A new report titled ‘A World Court For Corporations’, published by European community and environment organisations, cautions that the Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) model being proposed by the European Commission will entrench corporate power, without changing the unfair power inequality in the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) scheme.
6 December, 2017: Professor Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former UN Assistant Secretary-General and co-author of this critical study measuring the employment costs of the original TPP, has written an article debunking some of the main myths about the newly named Comprehensive Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTTP).