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AFTINET submission: China FTA has not met expectations

August 4, 2020: AFTINET’s submission to the DFAT five-year post-implementation review of  ChAFTA is here. A summary is below.

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.

EU Court decision that US does not meet data privacy standards could challenge data deregulation through trade deals

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.

Civil society groups urge G20 Finance Ministers to cancel debt and increase health care in low income countries

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:

Big Tech’s Plans for New WTO Rules over Data Access and Control Exposed

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.

European Parliament strongly backs WHO effort for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines

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..

Barrick Australia sues Papua Niugini to hold onto lucrative Porgera gold mine

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.

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