AFTINET criticised the lack of human rights and labour rights in China when ChAFTA was first proposed. Trade and diplomatic tensions between China and Australia have since increased in the context of the US-China trade wars. However, some cooperation continues through international institutions like the WHO and the WTO, which is essential in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. AFTINET will not be drawn into cold war rhetoric but will continue our criticism of the lack of human rights and labour rights in China, and of those provisions in the ChAFTA that are not in the interests of workers and communities in Australia and China.
July 29, 2020: It appears that the Japanese and British governments will not be sued by UK and Japanese corporations under the terms of a proposed free trade agreement which they want to conclude by January 1, 2021. That is when the United Kingdom is expected to finally break with the European Union, with or without a trade agreement.
July 28, 2020: Following a recent meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and an assessment of the outcomes of all India’s free trade agreements by the Commerce & Industry and Finance Ministries, the Indian government has created four working groups to develop a new trade strategy to boost foreign investment and expo
Vaccines and WTO trade rules (TRIPS)
July 20, 2020: The Court of Justice of the European Union ruled on July 16 that EU data agencies must suspend data transfers to any country where the EU standards for data privacy cannot be met. It ruled that one particular arrangement, the US Privacy Shield, failed to meet the standards, and this has a direct impact on Facebook.
July 17, 2020: Finance Ministers of the world's richest countries are meeting at the G20 on July 19 to discuss how to respond to the #Covid19 pandemic. Sixty-four countries spend more on debt repayments than healthcare.
The Covid-19 crisis could mean 500 million more people are pushed into poverty. In 2020 the group of 76 poorest countries are due to spend:
July 16, 2020: A new paper written by Deborah James of the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research and published by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation argues that giant tech corporations are trying to use trade rules to collect more data, exercise more control over people’s lives and over their workers, and amass ever more profit.
July 15, 2020: In an overwhelming vote on July 10, 2020, the European Parliament supported a World Health Organization initiative to create the Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), which would collect patent rights, regulatory test data, and other information that could be shared for developing drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics to combat Covid-19 and ensure they are accessible to all..
July 14, 2020: Canadian company Barrick Gold announced on July 10 that its Australian subsidiary, Barrick Australia Pty Ltd, is invoking the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions of a bilateral investment treaty between Papua New Guinea (PNG) and Australia over the PNG government’s refusal to grant an extension of the company’s expired permit at the controversial Porgera Joint Venture gold mine in the PNG highlands.