June 15, 2020: A Special Issue of the Journal of Australian Political Economy focuses on the political economic fallout from the Coronavirus crisis. It contains 26 articles, written by Australian and international authors, each showing how political economic analysis can deepen our understanding of what has been happening. Many also reflect on what can now be done to pursue a more progressive agenda – for more secure jobs, less inequality and a more sustainable environment.
World Trade Organisation
June 11, 2020: The World Trade Organisation appellate body decision against several countries that challenged Australia’s plain packaging law is the final victory in a ten-year battle against tobacco companies’ use of trade and investment law against public health.
June 5, 2020: Thirty-seven countries supported the formal launch on May 29, 2020, of the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), an initiative to increase access to knowledge needed to produce vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to fight COVID-19. The Pool was first proposed in March by President Carlos Alvarado of Costa Rica.
June 1, 2020: During April and May the institutional arrangements for global cooperation to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic – the UN Security Council, the World Health Organisation, the G7 and G20 – failed to provide leadership, largely due to the US Trump Administration.
May 27, 2020: The Public Services International report, Digital Trade Rules and Big Tech: surrendering public good to private power, by Professor Jane Kelsey, University of Auckland, analyses the e-commerce chapter of the Comprehensive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership and some specific case studies, with alarming conclusions and a call for action.
May 20, 2020: The World Health Assembly unanimously adopted the draft resolution on COVID-19 which endorsed the central role of the World Health Organisation in the global response to the pandemic, called for the greatest cooperation between member states in providing resources and sharing knowledge about treatments and vaccines for the new coronavirus, and established two investigations – one into the origins of the coronavirus and how it was transmitted to humans, and one into the response to the pandemi
May 19, 2020: Agenda Item 3 at World Health Assembly, taking place virtually over May 18-19, 2020, firmly endorses the role of the World Health Organisation, calls for maximum cooperation to develop treatments and vaccines for the new corona virus, and sets up two investigation processes into the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 13, 2020: The headlines suggest that China’s threat to impose punitive tariffs on imports of barley from Australia, valued at A$1.3 billion, and banning of Australian beef over labelling issues are all about Prime Minister Morrison’s call for an investigation of China’s role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
May 12, 2020: Patents and other intellectual property rights could really slow down efforts to treat, contain and eradicate the new coronavirus, as was seen in the case of the A/H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, argues Ellen ’t Hoen, a specialist lawyer at Medicines Law & Policy, The Netherlands.