December 4, 2018, The US continued its opposition to the Paris climate agreement endorsed by other governments in the declaration issued by the G20 governments meeting in Argentina on December 2. The declaration also omitted the usual pledge to resist new trade restrictions, presumably to enable the US to endorse it. The G20 annual forum brings together leaders of the richest economies with some representation from developing countries.
3 December 2018: The Australian government has finally made public the terms of its accession to the WTO Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) on November 30, 2018, after four years of secret negotiations.
Our concerns are that these commitments may limit the ability of federal or state governments to use government procurement decisions to promote local development.
29 November 2018: The RCEP trade deal currently being negotiated between 16 countries including India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the ten ASEAN south East Asian countries, covers half of the world’s population.
Delegates from public health and other community groups from RCEP countries met last week at the 4th Global People's Health Assembly in Bangladesh and produced a critical statement on the possible impacts of the RCEP on public health.
28 November 2018: Strong resistance to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) from both civil society and domestic industry in India has caused their Government to commission a study on potential gains or losses to its economy from the “free” trade deal, writes Banikinkar Pattanayak. Comprehensive studies are not frequently conducted before or after countries sign such trade agreements, so the move is welcomed by many.
26 November 2018: Indonesian health specialist Eva Novi Karina has warned of the possible dangers to public health in Indonesia and other developing countries if the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal is signed.
22 November 2018: Investment Arbitration Reporter has reported this week that US company Westmoreland Coal has filed a claim against the Canadian Government under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), because they anticipate profit loss when the province of Alberta phases out coal generated electricity.
Media release 21 November 2018: “We are disappointed but not surprised that the majority report of the Government - dominated Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has recommended ratification of the Peru-Australia FTA,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
November 20, 2018: At the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) in Port Moresby last weekend US Vice President Mike Pence justified the US tariff war on China by criticising Chinese policies on technology transfer, intellectual property and industrial subsidies, and accused China of drowning its Pacific Island aid partners in a sea of debt.
Chinese President Xi Jinping in turn urged a rules-based approach through the World Trade Organisation (WTO), said that intellectual property rules should not be as profit-making tools for a few, accused the US of protectionism and unilateralism and urged cooperation rather than confrontation.
15 November 2018: RCEP Ministers from 16 countries meeting in Singapore have confirmed in a statement that they will miss the deadline of finishing the agreement in 2018, and that talks will continue in 2019. The statement says that seven of twenty chapters of the agreement have been completed.
The Regional comprehensive Economic Partnership talks between China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and the 10 ASEAN countries, covering half the world’s population, began in 2012 and have missed many deadlines.