May 7, 2020: Economist Professor Jeffrey Sachs and six other global figures have called for an immediate moratorium on all Investor-State Dispute Settlement claims and a permanent restriction on all such claims related to government action to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
April 30, 2020: Australia’s Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt has issued a directive about the new COVID-19 tracing app to reassure users that their privacy will be protected, and their data will not be abused.
The government claims that the Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) Determination 2020, Section 7 states that the data must be stored in Australia.
April 23.2020 Dr Patricia Ranald’s article in The Conversation shows how legal firm are already advising global companies on how to use clauses in trade agreements which allow them to claim millions in compensation for government regulation during the pandemic which may harm their profits.
More generally, she argues that the realities of the pandemic have forced governments to act in ways which show the flaws in the current trade deals that are negotiated in secret.
April 22, 2020: Deborah Gleeson and David Legge argue in The Conversation that patents and related intellectual property rights can present formidable barriers to procuring medicines, vaccines, diagnostic tests and medical devices.
They can cost lives, particularly during a public health emergency. the Australian government can do three things to tackle these barriers.
Media Release April 20, 2020: “AFTINET is among 293 organizations, including global and national union federations, development advocates, women’s groups, consumer and environmental groups from more than 150 countries that have endorsed a letter to government members of the WTO. The letter urges members of the WTO to stop all trade negotiations during the COVID-19 outbreak and refocus on ensuring access to medical supplies and saving lives,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
April 17, 2020: Centre Alliance Senator Rex Patrick today called on the federal government to give greater weighting to the criteria of Economic Benefit to Australia in existing Commonwealth Procurement Rules so that the benefits of local employment can be fully valued and used to improve opportunities for local firms.
April 15, 2020: India imposed a sweeping new tax on digital goods and services on April 1, 2020, closely followed by an Indonesian move on April 7. Both countries noted the rapid increase in online activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns on physical contact between people.
The Indian government used its 2020 Budget to impose the 2 per cent tax on all goods and services sold online in India by companies that do not have a taxable presence in India. The threshold for sales is low, at US$267,000.
Emergency finance must not add to debt burdens
Process to reduce debts to sustainable level in future also needed
Media Release April 8, 2020: A group of Australian civil society organisations (CSOs) released a statement today calling for the Australian Government to support the cancellation of external debt payments in 2020 for Low Income Countries to help them fight the coronavirus.