July 9, 2020: US pharmaceutical giant Gilead has filed five patent applications for a 20-year monopoly on the manufacture and commercialisation of the drug remdesivir in Argentina. Remdesivir is the first drug approved globally to treat people infected with COVID-19. If the National Institute of Industrial Property (INPI) rejects the patent, it would be a significant step toward Argentina being able to manufacture remdesivir locally at a reduced price.
July 8, 2020: This inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is the result of negotiations between the ALP and the government about passing the enabling legislation for the Indonesia FTA.
The terms of reference are broad enough for a public debate about the secrecy of trade negotiations, the lack of independent assessment of trade deals and the need for change.
July 7, 2020: Prairie Mining, an Australian company using third-party funding from another Australian company, Litigation Capital Management, has announced an investment treaty claim against Poland over the obstruction of two coal projects. An LCM subsidiary in London has provided A$18 million to finance the action. LCM will get a profitable investment return if Prairie Mining wins the case.
June 29, 2020: Trade Ministers from the 15 states negotiating the proposed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership met virtually on June 23, 2020, but ignored an open letter from AFTINET and a previous letter from 94 community organisations from RCEP countries calling for release of the RCEP text, a pause in the RCEP negotiations and review of the text to ensure that its rules do not restrict government action to save lives during the current and future pandemics.
June 25, 2020, Media Release: “An open letter endorsed by 630 international and national civil society organisations has been sent to Trade Minister Birmingham, warning him that Australia could face a wave of cases from global corporations claiming millions in compensation for actions taken to respond to the pandemic. Corporations can do this using rules in trade deals known as investor-state dispute settlement, or ISDS,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
June 22, 2020: New Zealand with Costa Rica, Fiji, Iceland and Norway launched a new initiative - the Agreement on Climate Change, Trade and Sustainability (ACCTS) – on September 25, 2019, on the fringe of the United Nations General Assembly Leaders Meeting in New York.
Media release June 18, 2020: “The Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network of 60 community groups has written to Trade Minister Birmingham ahead of a virtual meeting next week about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RECP) calling for a pause in the negotiations and review of the text to ensure that its rules do not restrict government action to save lives during the current and future pandemics,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.