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Parliamentary debate on investor rights to sue governments (ISDS)

March 7, 2023: In November 2022, the Trade Minister confirmed Labor’s policy to exclude Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in new agreements and to review it in existing agreements. The policy was first adopted under the Gillard government in 2011 in response to community campaigning by AFTINET and others when the Philip Morris tobacco company sued the Australian government over our plain packaging law.

403 US Labor and Civil Society Groups speak out on Indo-Pacific Trade Deal

Monday March 6, 2023 : Over 400 US labor and civil society organisations have written to President Biden outlining their priorities for the pending <a href=" Economic Framework</a> (IPEF) trade agreement. <a href=" letter</a> comes shortly before the Office of the US Trade Representative is expected to introduce US proposals for IPEF&rsquo;s labor, environment and digital trade chapters during a key negotiating round being held in Bali, Indonesia, on March 13-19.

Government urged to support equitable global access to medicines at WHO Pandemic Treaty meeting

Media Release  February 27, 2023

World Health Organisation (WHO) member governments will meet in Geneva this evening AEDT to start debating a draft Pandemic Treaty intended to learn from the lessons of the COVID-19 pandemic and develop better strategies for future pandemics, to be completed in 2024.

Leading public health, fair trade, church, human rights and aid and development organisations have written to the Ministers responsible for Health, Foreign Affairs and Trade asking them not to repeat the “catastrophic moral failure” of inequitable global access to COVID vaccines, treatments and tests. The letter is attached. Quotes from organisation leaders are below.

WHO draft pandemic treaty proposes monopoly waivers, and other measures for equitable access to medicines

February 8, 2023: The World Health Organization (WHO)’s first or ‘zero-draft’ for a treaty on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response would commit Member States to support temporary waivers of World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules for 20-year monopolies on pandemic related products. This would enable developing countries to scale up manufacturing of cheaper products, and increase the availability of affordable pandemic-related products.

AFTINET submission to the Review of ISDS in the Australia-NZ-ASEAN free trade agreement

February 6, 2022:This revision of the ASEAN agreement (AANZFTA) was begun under the Morrison coalition government and Labor Trade Minister Farrell announced on November 14 that in-principle agreement has been reached on most issues. The text will not be released until after it is finalised. The RCEP and CPTPP texts are being used as models. The provisions on corporate rights to sue governments (Investor-State Dispute Settlement or ISDS) arrangements are still being reviewed.

Free Trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should not proceed

January 30, 2023: The previous Coalition government initiated a scoping negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the UAE, comprising the following emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, and with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and Qatar. AFTINET made a submission to the previous government in April 2022 arguing that  both negotiations should not proceed because of gross violation of human rights and labour rights in these countries.