COVID-19 Pandemic

WTO postpones decision on better access for COVID-19 vaccines– no consensus, no vote

December 14, 2020: The World Trade Organization TRIPS Council failed to act on December 10, 2020, on the proposal by South Africa and India to temporarily waive some intellectual property rights, so that Covid-19 medical products and vaccines could be more easily accessible, especially for low-income countries.

Renewed pressure for TRIPS waiver on COVID-19 vaccines comes from national and global health bodies

December 7, 2020: An Open Letter from the World Federation of Public Health Associations to the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and to the UN Secretary-General is aimed at a breakthrough on access to vaccines at the December 9 session of the TRIPS Council of the WTO.

Wealthy countries block COVID-19 drugs rights waiver at WTO – but claim to support universal access at the G20

November 23, 2020: The United States, the European Union and other mainly wealthy nations gathered in Geneva on November 21, 2020, to reiterate their opposition to a proposal to waive intellectual property rules for COVID-19 drugs, according to a Reuters report, despite pressure to make an exception to improve access to these drugs for poorer countries.

RCEP trade deal could impede-post COVID local industry recovery and ignores labour rights and environmental standards

Media release  November 14, 2020:  “The giant RCEP trade deal will be signed tomorrow by Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries (but without India) with great fanfare about its claimed economic benefits. But the deal was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not been revised in the light of lessons from the pandemic. Like previous trade deals the RCEP  restricts local industry policies,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

UN Human Rights Experts tell governments, WTO, IMF and Big Pharma to ensure universal access to COVID-19 vaccines

November 11, 2020: UN Human Rights Experts on November 9 called on the 31st Special Session of the General Assembly in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic to base their response on the bedrock human-rights based principles of international solidarity, cooperation and assistance.

Australia increases COVID-19 vaccine support to Pacific Islands and SE Asia, but opposes trade rule changes on vaccines

November 9, 2010: The Australian government recently announced new spending of A$500 million over three years to ensure provide COVID-19 vaccines and immunisation technical support to Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu and Kiribati in the Pacific, and Indonesia, Timor-Leste, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, the Philippines and Vietnam in south-east Asia.

Community groups disappointed that Australia opposed proposals at WTO to make vaccines cheaper

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                               

October 26, 2020

“It is disappointing that Australia reportedly opposed proposals from India and South Africa to make COVID-19 treatments and vaccines more affordable and available to low-income countries at the World Trade Organisation Council on the Trade-related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement on October 16,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.

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