June 4, 2021: The Australian Human Rights Commission final report on human rights and technology, released on April 27, 2021, deals with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in decision-making, and how people with disabilities experience digital communication technologies.
February 18, 2021: World Trade Organisation secret documents on the plurilateral: e-commerce, investment facilitation and services domestic regulation negotiations have been leaked to a civil society group website. Unpublished texts on the multilateral fisheries negotiations are also available at https://bilaterals.org/?-other-
February 8, 2021: A Senate Inquiry heard last week that Google’s Singapore subsidiary could allow it to use a controversial Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provision in the Singapore-Australia Free Trade Agreement to demand millions in compensation over proposed Australian regulation for payment of news content.
January 14, 2021: A new study published by Focus on the Global South maps the rapid global growth of digital technology and trade, and the Big Tech firms that are amongst the world’s largest. US firms Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook dominate global markets but are being challenged by Chinese firms like Alibaba and Tencent, resulting in a technology cold war between US and China.
The Report 192 of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) Inquiry on the Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement was quietly tabled in Parliament on the night of Tuesday December 8. The government has a majority on the Committee.
September 15, 2020: British trade Secretary Liz Truss and Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi Toshimitsu agreed in principle on September 11 to a free trade agreement, the UK’s first major trade deal as an independent trading nation.
The UK sees this deal forming a pathway to further market access under the 11-nation Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Transpacific Partnership (CPTPP), which Japan will support as part of the agreement.
August 25, 2020: The Australia-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement was signed on August 6 and the text was tabled in Parliament on August 24, which triggers an inquiry by the joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).
August 12, 2020: The Japanese Foreign Minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, and the UK Trade Secretary, Liz Truss met in person in London last week to finalise the proposed UK-Japan Free Trade Agreement, Media reports said that the major issues were settled and Secretary Truss expected the deal to be finalised by the end of August. The UK also wants FTAs with the EU, Australia, the USA, and New Zealand.