For Immediate Release
September 9, 2003

WTO Ministers wake up to Fair Trade
Mexico’s Foreign Minister Derbez treats international guests to a taste of latest buzz

CANCUN, MEXICO - Delegates from 146 nations will start their day with a good, Fair Trade cup of coffee, complements of Mexican Foreign Minister Dr. Luis Ernesto Derbez.

Each delegation, at the Minister’s personal request, will receive a special basket of Mexican products, featuring a half a kilo of Fair Trade coffee. Mexico is one of the world’s leading producers of Fair Trade certified coffee, a program which guarantees living wages and fair employment opportunities to producers of coffee, chocolate, and many other products. Tens of thousands of Mexican farmers participate in Fair Trade.

“Mexican Fair Trade certified coffee is some of the finest in the world,” stated Foreign Minister Derbez in a phone interview. “As leaders in the Fair Trade movement, Mexico is proud to host the WTO and the world’s first international Fair Trade Fair.”

Started in the late 1980s, Fair Trade programs respond to plummeting prices in commodity markets, including coffee, tea and cocoa. By allowing producers to sell directly to importers, farmers bypass various intermediaries who often take the lion’s share of the profits. Fair Trade products now include sugar, mescal and even soccer balls.

In 2002, sales for Fair Trade products are estimated to have surpassed US$400 million, generating an estimated US$30 million of additional income for producers and workers. Austria, France and Norway are now the fastest growing fair trade markets overall, with sales volume among these countries increasing by more than 100 percent between 2001 and 2002.

Led by the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (www.iatp.org), a coalition of international organizations has created the first-ever International Fair Trade Fair and Sustainable Trade Symposium. Bringing together fair trade experts and producers, the events offer ministers solid alternatives to current WTO policies and present successful examples of fair trade to the world.

On September 10th , following a 6:00 pm press briefing by Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu and Fair Trade representatives, at 7:00 pm Minister Derbez, along with Canadian Trade Minister Pettigrew, South African Minister Ngubane, German Minister Kuenast, Swiss Ambassador Meyer and Nobel Laureate Rigoberta Menchu will participate in the Inaugural Reception for the Fair Trade Fair.

For more details, please contact:
in Mexico, Michael Straus: 044-998-107-2813, michael@strauscom.com,or
Kari Hamerschlag: 044-998-107-2823.

In the USA, contact Stephenie Hendricks, 415-258-9151, stephenie@strauscom.com.

Additional information is available at www.fairtradeexpo.org and www.strauscom.com/cancun


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