October 9, 2017: Today, Trade Ministers from only 35 countries will attend a “mini-Ministerial” in Morocco which is intended to solidify the agenda for the upcoming 11th Ministerial Conference of the 164-member WTO (MC11) to be held December 10-13, 2017 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
World Trade Organisation
August 14, 2017: Media Release: “Trade Minister Ciobo is wrong to suggest that the Queensland government procurement policy to give preference to small local suppliers contradicts Australia’s current trade agreements. All of these agreements have exceptions which allow some preference to small and medium-sized enterprises. South Australia and Victoria have similar policies, as do Australia’s trading partners like the US and South Korea,” AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
August 7, 2017. Media Release: “The Australian Fair Trade network of community groups condemns the attempt by the Coalition government to rush through implementing legislation for the WTO Government Procurement Agreement before the negotiations are even finished. This is like signing a blank cheque before the parliament knows the outcome of the negotiations and makes a mockery of the parliamentary process. The Parliament has never before passed implementing legislation for an unseen agreement,” AFTINET Convenor Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
July 12, 2017: US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer has told the US Senate Finance Committee on June 21 that he is working to advance each point of President Trump’s trade policy agenda, which includes promoting U.S. sovereignty, enforcing U.S. trade laws, leveraging American economic strength, protecting U.S. intellectual property rights, and reducing America’s persistent trade deficit.
June 30, 2017: The Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement has recommended that the Commonwealth Procurement Rules should be clarified and strengthened to encourage Australian suppliers. To ensure this, the Australian Government must not enter into trade agreements which could undermine these benefits to local industry and employment.
Governments should be able to use procurement policies to encourage industry development and local employment. Negotiations for current and future trade agreements should ensure that trade agreement provisions do not prevent procurement policies from meeting these goals.
Read AFTINET's Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Government Procurement (March 2017).
Media Release, June 2, 2016: “Buried deep in the Australia Institute’s report released today, called Manufacturing Still Matters, is a blistering critique of trade deals that weaken governments’ ability to use their own purchasing power to support local industry,” Dr Patricia Ranald, C
December 23, 2015: Positive outcomes of the WTO Ministerial meeting include some restraints on some, but not all, unfair agricultural export subsidies used by the US and EU, the exclusion of pro-corporate investment issues, and the retention of some development issues in future negotiations. But the WTO needs big changes to address the growing gap between rich and poor countries, See analysis by Deborah James, UN expert Alfred de Zayas, and Oxfam.
December 14, 2015: Over 450 civil society organizations from over 150 countries have signed a letter to WTO member governments ahead of the 10th WTO Ministerial Meeting in Nairobi. The letter asks them to change existing WTO rules to make the global trading system more compatible with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, and to keep the Doha development agenda, not replace it with “new issues” that would constrain development and public interest policies.
By Jemma Williams
India has come under heavy criticism recently for blocking the implementation of a World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreement reached at Bali last December.
Proponents celebrated the Bali ‘package’ as a long-awaited achievement by the WTO, which had failed to reach a significant agreement since 1995. However, critics lamented that the Bali deal was skewed in the favour of developed nations above developing nations (read AFTINET’s critique of the Bali package here).