September 10, 2020: The Energy Charter Treaty with its Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions has become a major obstacle to the Paris Climate Agreement, and current European efforts to reform it appear unlikely to succeed. EU parliamentarians are now calling for states to withdraw from it by the end of 2020.
September 7, 2020: The Australian Greens have called for the Australia – Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement, which came into force on January 17, 2020, to be reviewed by a Senate Committee following the imposition by the central government in Beijing of the National Security Law, but the government and the Labor Opposition blocked the move.
September 3, 2020: The second-largest damages claim awarded to a foreign investor against a government was US$5.8 billion, in July 2019, to the Australian subsidiary of Tethyan Copper Company against the government of Pakistan. Canadian academic Kyla Tienhaara argued in an article in the Conversation that this Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) ruling demonstrated that the global economic governance model is broken.
September 1, 2020: A new report by the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute reveals a rush of international arbitration cases against Latin American states by international investors during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some cases relate to pandemic control measures, and others to ongoing cases.
August 31, 2020: The official statement from the on-line meeting on August 27 of 15 Trade Ministers negotiating the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership said that they were "pleased with the significant progress made towards finalizing the RCEP Agreement for signing at the fourth RCEP Summit in November 2020,” and that “the RCEP remains open for India”.
August 27, 2020: Initial commitments by university-based vaccine developers and the World Health Organisation to provide COVID-19 vaccines to all manufacturers without paying high monopoly prices have been overwhelmed by the pharmaceutical industry’s absolute commitment to intellectual property rights, according to a report in Fortune Magazine.
August 26, 2020: The Melbourne Age has reported that Clive Palmer’s Singapore-based company, established in 2019, could use foreign investor rights in the Singapore-Australia free trade agreement to claim billions in compensation because the WA government passed legislation terminating a legal dispute over an iron ore project, which had been running since 2012.
August 25, 2020: The Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement was signed on August 6 and the text was tabled in Parliament on August 24, which triggers an inquiry by the joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).
MEDIA RELEASE Monday August 24, 2020
“It is disgraceful that Europeans know more than Australians about our trade negotiations because the Australian government refuses to release the text of trade agreements until after they are signed,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.