December 7, 2020: An Open Letter from the World Federation of Public Health Associations to the World Trade Organisation, the World Health Organisation, the World Intellectual Property Organisation and to the UN Secretary-General is aimed at a breakthrough on access to vaccines at the December 9 session of the TRIPS Council of the WTO.
December 1, 2020: Any COVID-19 vaccines need to be freely accessible to all countries, but this requires a waiver to some World Trade Organisation rules, argues Rachel Thrasher, a Research Fellow at Boston’s Global Development Policy Center.
November 23, 2020: The United States, the European Union and other mainly wealthy nations gathered in Geneva on November 21, 2020, to reiterate their opposition to a proposal to waive intellectual property rules for COVID-19 drugs, according to a Reuters report, despite pressure to make an exception to improve access to these drugs for poorer countries.
November 18, 2020: Just a few days prior to the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), economic experts, business owners, civil society organisations and parliamentarians expressed their concerns about its impact on developing countries in a regional webinar.
The webinar was organised by the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law, and Development (APWLD), Public Services International (PSI), and Indonesia for Global Justice (IDJ).
November 17, 2020: Dr Patricia Ranald's explainer article on the RCEP text has been published in The Conversation here. The article notes that RCEP rules could impede local industry development needed to recover from the COVID- 19 crisis, that it will restrict government regulation of essential services and that the RCEP has no commitment to labour rights and environmental standards.
Media release November 14, 2020: “The giant RCEP trade deal will be signed tomorrow by Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the 10 ASEAN countries (but without India) with great fanfare about its claimed economic benefits. But the deal was completed before the COVID-19 pandemic, and has not been revised in the light of lessons from the pandemic. Like previous trade deals the RCEP restricts local industry policies,” AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald said today.
November 12, 2020: The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal between Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, South Korea and the ten ASEAN countries* will be signed online at the ASEAN Summit on Sunday, with much fanfare from governments about its size and potential economic benefits.
But India left the negotiations in November last year, which means the agreement is worth less to Australia, since Australia already has bilateral or regional free trade agreements with all the other RCEP countries.