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Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations Brisbane, plus AFTINET public forum recording

December 16, 2022: IPEF negotiators from 14 Indo-Pacific countries met in Brisbane from December 10-15. They include the United States, Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

IPEF is a US initiative to diversify its supply chains away from China towards its allies and create US-style rules in the region. It is not a traditional trade agreement with binding commitments because the US is not offering any more access to its own markets, but relying on investment projects as incentives, especially for developing countries. The US is chairing most negotiations and pushing for quick agreements.

The Labor government’s policy on trade transparency promises more transparent and accountable trade negotiations, including access to negotiating texts and independent evaluation of costs and benefits of trade agreements.

Community groups slam delay on TRIPS waiver inclusion of Covid-19 treatments and tests

Media Release December 15, 2022: The same dynamics that slowed and watered down the decision on the initial TRIPS waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO) now look likely to prevent a timely decision on expanding the waiver to cover treatments and tests. Calls for an extension to the original deadline of 17 December 2022 being led by the EU, Switzerland, Japan and the UK have been slammed by an alliance of health, human rights and fair-trade organisations.

Explainer article on the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)

December 9, 2022: The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) is a US initiative to diversify US supply chains away from China towards US allies and create US-based rules in the region.

Dr Patricia Ranald's explainer article analyses why IPEF challenges the Albanese government’s policies on trade transparency, enforceable labour and environmental standards and regional stability.

Why the WTO TRIPS Council must extend patents waiver to COVID-19 tests and treatments

December 6, 2022: Today the World Trade Organisation Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights Council (WTO TRIPS Council) is meeting in Geneva to discuss the proposal from developing countries to extend the June WTO decision to waive some patent rights for COVID vaccines to cover COVID treatments and tests. This would expand access to treatments and tests to millions of people in low-income countries.

Associate Professor Deborah Gleeson and colleagues presented the evidence for expanding the waiver in this Conversation article:

AFTINET impacts Parliamentary Reports on the A-UK FTA and India agreement: legislation passed

November 22, 2022: Enabling legislation for the Australia-UK FTA (AUKFTA) and the Interim Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (AIECTA) was tabled in parliament on October 27 and was passed on November 22. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) Report on the AUKFTA was tabled on November 17 and the Interim India JSCOT Report on November 18, leaving  little time for them to be considered by parliament. The government made statements urging the quick passage of the legislation. Both reports recommended in favour of the enabling legislation, but they reflected some of AFTINET’s concerns. See our JSCOT submissions here and here.

Our preference was for these issues to be addressed before the enabling legislation, but failing this we have asked the government to address these issues in the reviews of the AUKFTA which are scheduled in the next two years, and in the negotiations for a more comprehensive Economic and Trade Cooperation Agreement with India which is due to be negotiated next year.

Over 380 civil society organisations demand world governments quit ISDS as Australia pledges to do so

Sharm El-Sheikh, 16 November 2022 – More than 380 civil society organisations from over 60 countries across the world, including AFTINET, are calling on governments to put an end to a system of secretive tribunals which threaten global climate goals at the CCOP 27 Climate Change Conference.

AFTINET AGM Wednesday, December 7, 2022, 5.30 pm

Wednesday, December 7, 2021, 5.30-7. PM (AEDT) (Online)

Special Guest speaker Alison Rahill anti-slavery campaigner: Ending modern slavery and ensuring labour rights at home and abroad  

As this is an online event, registration is free but essential.

Register here

Special guest speaker Alison Rahill Alison Rahill, Executive Officer of the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney’s Anti-Slavery Taskforce.

Alison has several decades’ experience as a labour rights specialist in addition to the past six years as a modern slavery specialist. Alison has undertaken in-depth community engagement projects in both the horticulture and construction sectors. She has also worked for the ACTU and other community organisations. Alison will speak about the Australian Modern Slavery Legislation, which requires large companies to assess, address and mitigate the risk of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, in Australia and overseas. A statutory review of the legislation is underway with a report due to be tabled by the Labor government early 2023. This process links with AFTINET’s campaign for the government to implement its policy to include legally enforceable labour rights in trade agreements. This would place greater obligations on the Australian and other governments to improve labour rights.