Tag Archives: World Trade Organization

Brazil’s Covid deaths hit a new monthly record as France tightened restrictions | Instant News

That Covid-19 The death toll jumped out of control in Brazil in March, more than double the country’s previous monthly record, officials said Wednesday, as President of France. Emmanuel Macron announced a limited national lock.

In a sign of the devastation caused by the virus as the world races to launch a vaccine, Brazil reports 66,573 people have died from Covid-19 in March – more than double that. many casualties as the month of the country’s second deadliest pandemic, July 2020.

France has meanwhile become the latest European country to succumb to a very high case of the coronavirus, despite Macron’s repeated promises not to re-enforce national lockdowns.

The virus has killed more than 2.8 million people since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the end of 2019. And although the world is looking for a vaccine to end the upheaval that Covid-19 has brought, its rollout has begun swiftly in many countries. .

That includes Brazil, where health experts say the explosion of cases has been driven in part by a local variant of the virus known as P1, which can re-infect people who have the original strain and are believed to be more contagious.

“Never in Brazilian history have we seen a single incident kill so many people” in one month, said doctor Miguel Nicolelis, a former pandemic response coordinator for Brazil’s impoverished northeast.

With winter approaching in the southern hemisphere and the virus spreading rapidly, Brazil is facing “the perfect storm,” he told AFP.

“It is a threat not only to Brazil but also to the whole world.”

The surge in Brazil has overwhelmed hospitals and forced doctors to make painful decisions about who should provide life-saving care – prioritizing those most likely to survive.

“We are in a very tragic situation,” said epidemiologist Ethel Maciel.

In France, daily cases have more than doubled to around 40,000, and hospitals are overflowing in flashpoints such as Paris.

That ultimately forced Macron to back down and reimpose national restrictions he rejected in January.

“We got weeks of precious freedom,” he said in a national speech, but current action is “too limited at a time when the epidemic is accelerating”.

The existing limited lockdown in regions including Paris will be extended across the country from Saturday evening over the next four weeks, he said.

Schools will be closed for three or four weeks depending on age level – two of which are spring break.

In Italy, Prime Minister Mario Draghi has meanwhile extended restrictions to April 30, including the closure of restaurants and businesses.

And the Japanese minister in charge of the coronavirus response announced plans Thursday to designate sections of three regions – Osaka, Hyogo and Miyagi – for special virus countermeasures from April 5 to May 5.

The move, which would allow local officials to close businesses early or face fines, came with increasing infections in three regions even as the Olympic torch crossed the country before the pending Olympics opened on July 23.

On the bright side, the number of vaccines available could increase.

Experts at World Health Organization said a provisional analysis found two Chinese vaccines, from the companies Sinovac and Sinopharm, showed “good safety and efficacy” – but more data is needed.

Other vaccine makers, US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech, are pushing for plans to increase production, saying new data from the United States shows puncture 100 percent effective in children 12 to 15 years of age.

The US has delivered more vaccine doses than any other country, with nearly 150 million of the 600 million injections given worldwide.

But it has also suffered from more than 550,000 deaths – the highest toll in the world – and the coronavirus was the third leading cause of death in the US last year.

Several European countries have restricted access to

vaccine over blood clot reports, but the EU drug regulatory agency said it found no specific linking risk factor.

However, it is argued that a causal relationship is “possible” and that “further analysis is continuing.”

In a setback for other vaccine makers, some 15 million doses of Johnson & Johnson single-use vaccine were damaged due to factory error, The New York Time reported – a blow to US companies’ efforts to rapidly increase production.

In China, which has largely defeated the virus, authorities announced a week-long lockdown on the city of Ruili, after six cases were detected near the Myanmar border – the country’s first move in months.

Greece meanwhile said it would reopen most retail stores and relax free time restrictions despite its high Covid numbers.

And Brisbane, Australia is lifting a three-day mini lockdown that was put in place to stop the outbreak from infecting 14 people.

With a pandemic devastating the global economy, World Trade Organization gave a note of hope, saying that global trade will increase by eight percent this year.

However, the importance of the pandemic war is lost on Harlock – a one-year-old German Shepherd who is happy to learn to sniff out Covid-19 in Rome.

“Sniffing,” says her trainer, Massimiliano Macera, quickly rewarding the furry pupil with a snack every time the nose meets the tube.

“Their job is to play,” Macera said of her dog. “These people are experts.”


image source

Australia’s wine industry expects China to lock in tariffs for five years | Instant News

Winemakers and growers are getting ready for China to immediately announce a hike and extension to Australian wine tariffs, paving the way for a potential World Trade Organization dispute.

China last year imposed temporary tariffs of up to 200 percent, claiming Australian winemakers sell wines below production cost and have been subsidized.

Australian Wine and Wine chief executive Tony Battaglene expects Beijing to lock in tariffs to nearly 220 percent over the next five years.

Mr Battaglene believes a decision on interim tariffs is imminent and will confirm the industry’s most valuable illicit market.

“We might hit 215 to 218 percent,” Battaglene told the ABC.

“To be honest, it doesn’t matter. When you are at 200 percent you are unfit and when you are at 215 percent, you are even less viable so the market remains closed for Australian wines.”

Once the tariffs are confirmed, it will allow Australia to refer the dispute to an independent referee, the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“We continue to reject the accusations,” said Battaglene.

“For us, China is someone who is constantly promoting the importance of the World Trade Organization, so we will definitely be evaluating very carefully the possible challenges going through that.”

The industry is expected to provide recommendations to the Australian government to pursue WTO action in the coming weeks.

“My view is we are probably going the right way because we reject the allegations,” Battaglene said.

This follows former trade minister Simon Birmingham’s decision late last year to refer China to the WTO for imposing hefty tariffs on Australian barley for similar accusations of anti-competitive behavior.

Battaglene said while disappointed, he would not be surprised by the tariff extension.

He said he believes winemakers will appreciate some certainty about the trade, which was valued at more than $ 1 billion last year.

“At least now that we know what’s going on, at least the industry can get on with the work,” said Battaglene.

“We immediately saw some impact on wine prices, we were in the midst of vintage, and we saw a 10 to 15 percent drop in overall red wine prices, in some cases a little bit more.”

A Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade official told the Senate Estimates of Australia’s trade value with China for nearly all industries have plunged by up to 40 percent since a trade dispute escalated between the two countries.

And those wine exports fell to less than $ 1 million in January, from a high of $ 164 million last October.

“We all want to look forward,” said Battaglene.

“We know we are going to have some tough years, real pressure has come on people who only export to China and we have 1000 businesses set up to do that.

“A lot of established businesses will take a hit, yes it will be tough, but we have seen good support from the Australian community and we hope it continues.”

Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan said the government rejected any suggestions the Australian wine industry was subsidized.

“The government will be deeply disappointed if China makes the final decision to impose import duties – we are not aware of any evidence that Australian wine has been disposed of or subsidized adversely on the Chinese market.

“The government will continue to work closely with the Australian wine industry, including possible next steps if final duties are imposed.”


image source

The Australia-China barley dispute escalated to the World Trade Organization dispute panel | Instant News

Australia’s claim that China violated international trade rules by imposing tariffs on barley last year will be referred to a dispute panel to be set up by the World Trade Organization.

Beijing is forced rates for barley grown in Australia by May 2020, claiming farmers have dumped grain in China at a lower price than the cost of producing it.

Australia denies any anti-competitive behavior, and in December referred the tariffs to the World Trade Organization, which acts as an independent referee.

Trade Minister Dan Tehan said talks between China and Australia had failed and the government would now ask for a dispute panel set up by the WTO.

“There is constructive engagement on both sides and I thank Chinese officials for that constructive engagement, but we have not been able to resolve our concerns, so we therefore want to go to the referee to resolve this trade dispute,” Tehan said.

“We will go to the referee and ask the referee to decide according to our wishes if that is what we can achieve and that is what we want to achieve.

“We want to make sure we get access to the market for our barley right around the world and we want to make sure we stand up for the interests of Australian barley producers.”

The dispute panel is welcomed

The head of the national top grain Growers body Brett Hosking said the federal government had no choice but to ask the World Trade Organization to set up a dispute panel.

“Glad to see the process proceeding in an orderly and sensible manner,” he said.

“The two sides have gone through preliminary negotiations … which are clearly fruitless, therefore we move on to the second stage, which is to request the formation of a hearing panel.”

Mr Hosking said the three-person panel would meet representatives of Australia and China separately before reaching a decision.

“They will ask questions like, ‘how do you come to the final say that Australia is throwing grain or that an unfair subsidy has been paid’?

“And even the question, ‘how do you get 80.5 percent to the correct rate to apply to Australia’ ?,” he said.

Mr Hosking said he was confident the panel would decide to support Australia, and said the two countries were bound to abide by the final decision.

“We as an industry have really crawled over the evidence quite thoroughly and we firmly believe that the accusations made against Australian farmers in particular are untrue,” he said.

“Both sides want to be respected members of the WTO, so I don’t think there’s any question about them respecting the outcome of the process.”

‘We want constructive relations with China’

A header approaches the camera while harvesting barley
GrainGrowers believes the WTO panel will decide to support Australia.(

ABC Countryside: Jo Prendergast


Mr Tehan said the Australian government wanted to have a constructive relationship with China.

“Our two economies are highly praised, and I have written to my colleagues asking us to have a constructive dialogue.”

But he said a trading nation like Australia had no choice but to call in a suitable referee to settle such disputes.


image source

Waive the patents for the COVID vaccine to benefit poor countries, activists say | Instant News

GENEVA (Reuters) – Doctors Without Borders (MSF) staged a protest at the World Trade Organization on Thursday against what it says is the reluctance of the rich world to give up patents and allow more production of COVID-19 vaccines for poor countries.

Activists seeking to waive intellectual property rules unfurl a large sign reading “No Monopoly on COVID – Rich Countries Stop Blocking TRIPS Waivers” in a park next to the WTO headquarters on Lake Geneva.

They want the terms of the TRIPS agreement – Aspects of Intellectual Property Related to WTO Trade – to be replaced to allow generic or other manufacturers to make new products.

WTO member states are holding new talks next week on proposals by India and South Africa to override regulations for COVID-19 drugs and vaccines.

“If we have neglect, we will be able in a number of countries to increase production now, which will allow diagnostics, drugs and vaccines to get to where they are most needed,” Stephen Cornish, general director of MSF Switzerland, told Reuters at the WTO.

“At the moment we are seeing very few vaccines making it to the global South, and this is unacceptable in the world today,” he said.

About 100 countries are now supporting the campaign, Cornish added.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), backed up the move in a tweet on Thursday: “If a temporary patent waiver cannot be issued now, during these unprecedented times, when is the right time?”

“Big Pharmacy” has rejected a proposal that would grant compulsory licensing overriding patent rules. Britain, Switzerland and the United States, which have strong domestic pharmaceutical industries, are against neglect.

“Rich countries, EU, US, Canada and Switzerland … are blocking that reduction. And they’re doing it in the name of profit and business and the status quo instead of putting people’s lives over profit, “Cornish said.

Globally, 265 million doses of vaccine have been given, with 80% in just 10 countries, WHO emergency expert Mike Ryan said on social media on Wednesday evening.

He welcomed the launch of the first COVID-19 vaccine this week through the COVAX facility which aims to deliver doses to low-income countries, starting in Ivory Coast.

Nearly 10 million doses have been given in more than 10 countries, he said, adding: “It is a big step forward in terms of at least starting the journey towards better vaccine distribution around the world.”

additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Written by Stephanie Nebehay; edited by William Maclean


image source

Germany is ready for a ‘new chapter’ in transatlantic relations | Instant News

BERLIN, February 19 (Reuters) – Germany is poised for a “new chapter” in transatlantic relations in which the United States and Europe follow a common agenda, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday.

“In our principles and values, in our belief in democracy and its ability to act, we have a broad and sound basis,” he told the Munich Security Conference via video link.

“There is a lot to be done, and Germany is gearing up for a new transatlantic chapter.”

Big challenges like the pandemic and climate change must be tackled together in multilateralism, he said, and the United States and Europe must have a similar attitude towards Russia.

“It is very important for us to develop a general Russian transatlantic agenda, which on the one hand makes cooperative offers, but on the other hand clearly identifies differences,” he said. (Reporting by Paul Carrel; Written by Maria Sheahan)


image source