December 17, 2021: After 18 months of secretive negotiations, Trade Ministers from Australia and the UK today signed the Australia-UK FTA and released the text of the agreement. Fair trade advocates are demanding an independent assessment o f costs and benefits before it is ratified, as recommended by the parliamentary committee that reviews trade agreements.
2021 Media Releases
December 16, 2021: As World Trade Organisation (WTO) delegates meet today to discuss a proposal to temporarily lift vaccine intellectual property patents, vaccine equity advocates are calling for immediate action amid a ‘tsunami’ of Omicron cases.
November 30, 2021: Health, civil society organisations and unions are holding a vigil today at 12 pm outside the German Consulate to demand WTO rule changes to share vaccine knowledge and protect the world against new COVID threats.
November 29: An alliance of health, human rights, fair-trade and labour rights advocates have warned Trade Minister Dan Tehan that global efforts to lift COVID-19 vaccine patent monopolies would be undermined by a draft statement that Australia sponsored before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting which was due to meet this week.
Media Release November 27, 2021: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting.
Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today:
“The postponement of the WTO Ministerial Meeting exposes the shocking failure of the WTO for over a year to agree to share vaccine knowledge and increase global vaccine production to ensure access in low-income countries. This new strain of the virus is a direct result of vaccination rates below 5% in African low-income countries, where millions are dying and new strains are developing.”
November 22, 2021:An alliance of health, human rights and fair-trade organisations have today joined forces to rally today at 12 pm outside Pfizer Australia’s office at 151 Clarence St, Sydney. They are calling for the pharmaceuticals giant to put the Covid-19 vaccination needs of millions of people in low and lower-middle income countries ahead of its own revenue targets
November 4: On the eve of an important World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting on intellectual property this week, the Government has revealed that Australia will not co-sponsor a proposal to waive commercial monopolies on COVID19 vaccines, as Shadow Trade Minister Madeleine King MP and campaigners have urged.
October 19, 2021: Following today’s announcement from Madeleine King MP that Labor will support enabling legislation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), advocates have called on the Government and Opposition to publicly commit to re-examine the RCEP in the next term of Parliament amid fears that the trade deal may impede regulation for quality aged care and reduction of carbon emissions.
29 September 2021: As the COVID pandemic continues to devastate low-income countries, 206 major civil society groups have called on the World Trade Organization (WTO) to change WTO rules for monopolies on vaccines that result in “vaccine apartheid”, and to work towards “a new vision of multilateralism which will result in ecological stability and shared prosperity”. The WTO is preparing for a Ministerial meeting in November.
Media Release September 22, 2021
National public health, church, union, human rights, aid and development and environment organisations today called on the Prime Minister to support the proposal to waive WTO rules for vaccine monopolies in global talks this week, and show its support by becoming a formal sponsor.