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.
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.
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 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.
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.
14 September 2021
Media Release September 1, 2021
The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) has released its Report 196 on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) between Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries including Myanmar and the Philippines.