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.
January 13, 2021: Medicines experts Professors Ronald Labonte and Brook Baker explain in The Conversation why 100 developing country members of the World Trade Organisation’s 164 members are demanding a temporary waiver of some intellectual property rights, supported by hundreds of public health and other community organisations.
What’s really in the RCEP? - experts discuss - video
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership text was released
on November 15.
The AFTINET Zoom Seminar on December 15, 2020, was our first look at the devil in the detail.
You can look at short 7-9 minute videos of the presentations:
January 7, 2021: The European Union and the British government finally came to an agreement about trade in goods on Christmas Eve 2020, which came into effect on January 1, 2021. The United Kingdom has now separated from the European Union, Common Market and Customs Union.
December 18, 2020: The Guardian reports that Clive Palmer’s Singapore-based company, established only in 2019, has acted on his threat to sue the Commonwealth Government for billions of dollars using the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (SDS) clauses in the Singapore-Australia free trade agreement.
December 15, 2020: The Report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade on the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for Australia’s foreign affairs defence and trade policies was tabled in Parliament on December 8.
December 14, 2020: The World Trade Organization TRIPS Council failed to act on December 10, 2020, on the proposal by South Africa and India to temporarily waive some intellectual property rights, so that Covid-19 medical products and vaccines could be more easily accessible, especially for low-income countries.
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.
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.