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Old 04-10-2005, 10:57 AM   #1
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This Is Fair Trade Week!

This week is a special week of activities AROUND THE WORLD focusing on the important issue of Fair Trade. This is the Global Week of Action on Trade.

Check out the website:

We all know about DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade, Africa) and we are all becoming familiar with Ali Hewson's new fair trade clothing line EDUN.

Hopefully, more people will become aware of the CRITICAL IMPORTANCE of fairer trade with developing nations and of the horrific role that trade restrictions developed countries have with developing nations has played in making these nations poorer over the last twenty-five years!

This is an issue whose time has come. Fair trade can help to MAKE POVERTY HISTORY in our lifetimes.

Thanks for your time, attention and hopeful involvement in the Global Week of Action on Trade!

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Old 04-10-2005, 11:25 AM   #2
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Re: This Is Fair Trade Week!

Originally posted by Jamila
and we are all becoming familiar with Ali Hewson's new fair trade clothing line EDUN.
Yeah, that only the rich can wear. As usual, whether it is overpriced clothing, biodiesel, or organic food, it's always priced out of the market for the average guy. Ideologically, that's exactly what big business prefers.


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Old 04-10-2005, 04:01 PM   #3
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US loses cotton fight with Brazil

Brazil said the US policy hurt other cotton-producing nations
The United States has lost the final round of a high-profile dispute with Brazil over US cotton subsidies.
A World Trade Organisation (WTO) appeals body on Thursday upheld an earlier ruling ordering the US to stop the payments to its farmers.

The organisation had found in its initial September ruling that the subsidies violated global trade rules.

Brazil said the US practice depressed world prices and hurt cotton producers both in Brazil and other countries.

Cotton growers in West Africa say that they have been especially hard hit by subsidies for US cotton farmers.

The US will now have to bring its cotton subsidies, which wrongly include export credits for producers, in line with global trade rules.

Trade talks

In a statement, the WTO's Appellate Body, its top court, said the US policy was "inconsistent" with the global agreement on cotton, and that it should be brought "into conformity with its obligations".

The US had claimed in its appeal that the WTO judges had wrongly calculated the amount of subsidies that could be counted as trade-distorting under the organisation's definition.

The WTO's ruling comes as trade ministers from 30 states are meeting in Kenya to continue talks to try to reform global farm trade, a central part of the WTO's Doha round of free trade negotiations.

Although the US has lost its appeal, it remains to be seen how long it will take Washington to end its illegal subsidies.

The US has said that any change would need to be included in any overall Doha agreement.

'Distorts trade'

No Doha declaration is expected at least until December, when trade ministers from around the world meet in Hong Kong.

India's chief WTO negotiator Gopal Pillai welcomed the organisation's decision against the US's cotton policy.

"The cotton subsidies which the US gives to its farmers distort trade in the market.

"Both subsistence farmers in Africa and Asia are not able to get a good price for their cotton."

The issue of fair trade with developing countries merits our SERIOUS attention and our serious discussion.

This is an issue of economic justice, not charity.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:34 PM   #4
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Because this issue is too important to millions of people around the world, here is some more info on the importance of fair trade with poor nations from the DATA website:

Make Trade Fair

As important as development assistance and debt relief are, no African person or government wants to rely on foreign aid for the provision of basic needs. Africans want a fairer system which lets them trade with the rich nations and earn more money, so they can grow their economies and pay for their own education and healthcare. But instead of earning more money to invest in improving the lives of their people, Africa has been earning less and less. In 1980 Africa had a 6% share of world trade. By 2002 this had dropped to just 2% despite the fact that Africa has 12 % of the world’s population. If Africa could regain just an additional 1% share of global trade, it would earn $70 billion more in exports each year – more than three times what the region currently receives in foreign aid.

Rich countries are very interested in talking about the importance of trade as the primary motor of economic growth in developing countries, yet there’s been no real action because these rich countries heavily protect their own markets against exports from the poorest countries through import duties and quotas. Furthermore rich countries continue to subsidize their own agricultural sectors to the tune of a billion dollars a day, making it impossible for African farmers to compete internationally. What rich countries fail to realize is that fairer trade is not just an opportunity for Africa but for the all countries—even them.

Africans in turn know they need to diversify their exports from unprofitable basic crops such as coffee and cocoa and into products which earn more money such as clothes, textiles and manufactured goods. But Africans could also earn more from basic crops if they were allowed to process these for export. For example Ghana can export raw cocoa duty free to Europe, but a 25% tariff is imposed if they process that cocoa before exporting it to Europe. It is this processing (tinning, roasting, labeling) which helps a country earn more money and develop its manufacturing base – and which allows its economy to grow. While fair trade could be Africa’s ticket out of the vicious cycles of poverty, unfair trade rules like these trap Africa at the gates.

These double standards have to end. It is important to have rules – but not ones only written by the rich. The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the place where these rules are written. But of the 38 African nations which are members of the WTO, 15 nations have no representative at all at the headquarters in Geneva, and 4 nations have an office of only one person. Most rich nations have dozens of staff to protect their trading interests.


The richest nations must open their markets quota and duty free to African exports and remove agricultural subsidies which hurt African farmers.

African countries must be allowed to harness the power of trade in their own way to maximize poverty alleviation and economic growth – there is no “cookie-cutter” trade policy to force on poor countries.


Trade Overview: Market Access (pdf)

DATA's fact sheet on AGOA (pdf)

DATA's trade analysis and recommendation for the 2004 G8 Summit

DATA'S Cynthia Phillips' trade testimony before Senate

U2 lead singer Bono testifies before a Senate Appropriations subcommittee on the need for increased spending assistance to Africa

Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on AGOA with Testimony from Administration witnesses

Congressman Jim McDermott's informational website on The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)

Congressman Ed Royce's Introduction to the African Growth and Opportunity Acceleration Act

HIRC Africa Subcommittee Site with hearing on AGOA

Senator Grassley's remarks prepared for AGOA reception

Senator Baucus' remarks prepared for AGOA reception

Senator Lugar's news release for AGOA reception

African Growth and Opportunity Act's official website

Oxfam's reports on Making Trade Fair


Of all the discussions in this forum, I submit that this issue is one of the truly most important that could be discussed in FYM.
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Old 04-12-2005, 06:37 PM   #5
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Can world poverty end?

Leading economist and director of the UN's Millennium Development Goals Jeffrey Sachs was our special guest on Talking Point (BBC Radio) to discuss world poverty.

Around 30,000 people in the world die every day because they are too poor to stay alive.

The United Nations has vowed to help the impoverished through their Millennium Development Goals which aim to halve world poverty by 2015.

The man in charge of delivering these goals is Jeffrey Sachs. He argues that extreme poverty can be eradicated by 2025.

He believes that richer nations need to urgently increase the quantity and quality of aid to poorer countries for this to happen.

However, he says the responsibility lies with individuals as much as with governments and international bodies.

Here is the link to watch the BBC's discussion with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs (it's worth your time and effort to listen and learn) :

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Old 04-13-2005, 06:20 PM   #6
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From the MAKE TRADE FAIR website:

Before you've finished your breakfast this morning, you'll have relied on half the world"
- Martin Luther King

An interesting thought. And a depressing one, when you realise that those people you've relied on for your coffee and muesli are almost certainly being exploited and oppressed by the unfair power balance in world trade.

But what can you do? Surely it's beyond your control? Wrong. You can buy Fair Trade products. And you can add your voice to the Big Noise.

Fair Trade is a growing, international movement which ensures that producers in poor countries get a fair deal. This means a fair price for their goods (one that covers the cost of production and guarantees a living income), long-term contracts which provide real security; and for many, support to gain the knowledge and skills that they need to develop their businesses and increase sales.

Fair Trade and the Make Trade Fair campaign
The Fair Trade movement has been one of the most powerful responses to the problems facing commodity producers. It gives consumers an opportunity to use their purchasing power to tilt the balance, however slightly, in favour of the poor. But Fair Trade alone can't address the crisis faced by the millions of small-scale farmers and producers whose livelihoods are threatened by low commodity prices and unfair competion from rich countries.

This can only be achieved by changing the unfair rules of world trade so that they work for small-scale producers as well as rich multinationals.

In the meantime, for hundreds of thousands of people, Fair Trade means the difference between a hand-to-mouth existence, and being able to plan for the future.

In the past decade, the Fair Trade movement has really taken off, as consumer awareness of - and indignation at - the treatment of producers in poor countries has increased. More retailers than ever are stocking Fair Trade goods, the number of products on offer continues to grow as demand increases, and more poor communities are feeling the benefits.


To learn more about Oxfam's Make Trade Fair Campaign, please go to

And please make YOUR VOICE HEARD on this most important issue for so much of the developing world!

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