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Parliamentary committee recommends that UK and Taiwan should join the CPTPP, but not China

February 14, 2022: The Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade (JSFADT) held an inquiry into  he expansion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific partnership (CPTPP) in 2021, and  the committee report was released on February 10, 2022.

The government has a majority on this committee, which makes general investigations into trade issues. The UK, China and Taiwan applied in that order in 2020 to join the CPTPP, and their applications will be considered by the eight of the eleven governments that have ratified the agreement.

The report recommends that Australia support the applications of the UK and Taiwan, but places conditions on support for China’s accession.

WTO Chief calls for decision on waiving monopolies on COVID vaccines by end February

February 7, 2022: WTO meetings held in December and January have failed to agree to waive monopoles on COVID vaccines  and treatments to increase global production and address the low vaccination rates of 10 per cent or less in low income countries.

This failure of the WTO process was recognised by the WTO Director-General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, who has convened informal meetings between supporters and opponents to make progress. These meeting are ongoing,

320 medical experts call on Boris Johnson to support waiver on COVID19 vaccine monopolies

1 February, 2022: More than 320 scientists and public health experts in the UK have called on the British Government to support a waiver on vaccine patent monopolies at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which would allow low-income countries to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, tests, and treatments for themselves.

MSF study shows COVAX vaccine donation scheme a broken promise

January 24, 2022: An MSF study shows why the COVAX donation scheme to distribute vaccines to low-income countries has fallen short of its promises for global vaccine equity. As of November 2021, more than 73% of people in high-income countries (HICs) had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, compared with less than 6% of people in low-income countries. COVAX only raised half of its target of $2billion by the end of 2021, its main sponsors have not supported proposals to share vaccine knowledge through waiving monopolies on vaccines to increase global production .

Inequality kills: new report details how trade rules create vaccine apartheid

January 19, 2022: A new report from Oxfam International has detailed the growing global economic inequality caused by the COVID19 pandemic. The report, Inequality Kills, highlights how World Trade Organisation (WTO) intellectual property rules have created a “vaccine apartheid” between wealthy nations and low-income countries, “a stain on the history of our species”.

Vaccine equity advocates call for patent-free access to COVID19 therapeutic baricitinib

18 January, 2022: Following a World Health Organization (WHO) recommendation of the drug baricitinib as a therapeutic medicine for COVID19, public health advocates at Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) have called on the World Trade Organisation to lift intellectual property monopolies on COVID19 treatments and vaccines.

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