31 March, 2022: Details have emerged on the US proposal for an Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), with the Australian Trade Minister Dan Tehan saying that a launch of negotiations could begin as early as April.
Following a joint-statement between the Australian and UAE trade ministers on their intent to pursue a trade deal, DFAT is now accepting submissions from the public about the potential agreement before formal negotiations begin. DFAT has also foreshadowed interest in negotiations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Both include countries which are notorious for human rights and labour rights violations.
29 March, 2022: Representatives of Big Tech companies like Meta, YouTube and Twitter have lobbied parliament to water down regulations which would target online trolling and bullying, arguing that the regulations would be in conflict with the US-Australia Free Trade Agreement and free trade deals signed with other countries.
28 March, 2022: In a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), AFTINET has identified major flaws and called for major changes to the Australia-UK Free Trade Agreement (A-UKFTA) before ratification.
24 March, 2022: Experts in public health and international trade have labelled a leaked document on COVID19 vaccine patents as “deeply flawed”, and have said that will not achieve global vaccine equity.
23 March, 2022: Together with thirteen allied organisations, AFTINET has called on the Minister for Trade, Dan Tehan, to support a stronger waiver on COVID19 monopolies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
22 March 2022: Ahead of a long-anticipated interim trade agreement between Australia and India, AFTINET Convener Dr Patricia Ranald has warned of the risks of rushing through an ‘early harvest’ agreement on ABC Radio National Drive.
17 March, 2022: After 18 months of talks, a leaked document proposing a deal between the United States, the European Union, South Africa and India that claims to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries reveals some positive steps. But advocates say more is needed to address the inequity resulting in only 4% of people in low -income countries having had two vaccine doses, and even less access to new treatments. Under the leaked proposal, access to treatments and tests would not be included, but would be considered only after another six months’ delay.
15 March, 2022: The President of the Vanuatu Association for Public Service Employees, Dr Basil Leodoro, has urged the Australian government to do more to support a proposal at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) that would temporarily lift patent monopolies on COVID19 vaccines, tests and treatments
14 March, 2022: Writing in The Conversation, public health experts Dr Deborah Gleeson and Brigitte Tenni have decried continuing vaccine inequity as the world marks the second anniversary of the COVID19 pandemic.