DonateJoin AFTINETVaccine Equity Campaign

WTO plans more meetings on waiving vaccine monopolies as Omicron rages and civil society condemns delay

January 11, 2022: The World Trade Organisation General Council met virtually on January 10. This was a response to India’s recent proposal to hold an urgent virtual Ministerial Conference on the WTO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including a proposed temporary waiver of WTO intellectual property rules on vaccine monopolies, which would enable production of affordable vaccines in low-income countries.

RCEP in force from January 1, but fails on human rights

January 10, 2022: Following ratification by the Australian and other governments, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) came into force on January 1, 2022. Negotiations began in 2012 between sixteen countries, but India withdrew in 2019. Six ASEAN and five non-ASEAN governments have ratified. They are Australia, New Zealand,, China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia Laos, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and the Philippines have not yet ratified the RCEP.

Discussions on proposal to lift vaccine monopolies intensify at WTO, as experts reveal 100 companies could produce COVID19 vaccines in developing countries

December 21, 2021: After the WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) was postponed in November, discussions on the proposal to lift vaccine patent monopolies (known as the ‘TRIPS waiver’) have intensified, as WTO Ministers from South Africa, India, the United States and the European Union met online to discuss a way forward and find common ground.

Media Release: Australia-UK free trade deal: advocates warn of hidden traps on pandemic vaccine monopolies and urge independent cost-benefit analysis

December 17, 2021: After 18 months of secretive negotiations, Trade Ministers from Australia and the UK today signed the Australia-UK FTA and released the text of the agreement. Fair trade advocates are demanding an independent assessment o f costs and benefits before it is ratified, as recommended by the parliamentary committee that reviews trade agreements.

NZ civil society demands tougher stance on vaccine apartheid in UK trade negotiations

December 12, 2021: A coalition of thirty-three civil society organisations has written to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern this week, calling for NZ to use its bilateral trade negotiations with the United Kingdom and European Union to push for their support of a proposal to temporarily lift patent monopolies on vaccines at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

Civil society groups ask ASEAN for RCEP human rights assessment as Filipino farmers say RCEP will undermine incomes

December 13, 2021: A coalition of regional and national civil society groups from the ten ASEAN countries  has asked the ASEAN secretariat to conduct a human rights assessment of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade agreement due to come into force in January 2022.

ASEAN includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam

Civil society urges WTO to reach an urgent decision to waive monopolies on vaccines as online negotiations resume

December 8, 2021: One hundred and twenty-eight civil society groups from around the world last week sent an open letter to the Director General of the World Trade Organisation asking the WTO to resume urgent negotiations and decide to waive monopolies on COVID1-19 vaccines and related products.

Pages