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[PCUSANEWS] 'Fair trade' on display


From PCUSA NEWS <PCUSA.NEWS@ecunet.org>
Date Tue, 9 Sep 2003 15:31:43 -0500

Note #7927 from PCUSA NEWS to PRESBYNEWS:
'Fair trade' on display
03381
September 9, 2003
'Fair trade' on display
Justice-in-commerce group courts World Trade Organization
By Jerry L. Van Marter
LOUISVILLE - "Fair trade" merchants from more than 100 countries are meeting
in Cancun, Mexico, to spotlight fledgling fair-trade markets around the globe
and show their benefits to officials of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The Sept. 9-14 "Fair Trade Expo and Symposium," sponsored by a host of
religious and humanitarian groups - including the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s
Hunger Program - is being held in conjunction with a regular meeting of the
WTO.
"Fair trade" refers to commercial agreements among producers, distributors
and consumers guaranteeing that fair prices are paid to those who actually
produce the goods being bought and sold.
The Expo will demonstrate a viable, "people-oriented" alternative to
WTO-style trade, which tends to favor large capital-rich firms and
"agribusinesses," said Andrew Kang Bartlett, a Hunger Program staffer who is
attending the gathering. "The advantages of WTO rules mostly accrue to richer
countries," he said, noting that environmental laws and subsidies of marginal
businesses are "subject to rulings by an unelected WTO council."
PHP is also paying the expenses of two other people attending the gathering:
Zulema Mena de Gonzalez, president of the Cooperativa Maquiladora Mujers de
Nueva Vida, of Nicaragua, which makes "sweat-free" T-shirts for sale in the
United States; and Mike Woodard, of the Jubilee House Community, a
faith-based development program in Nicaragua that is assisting Gonzalez's
group.
The sweat-free shirts other fair-trade products, including coffee, chocolate,
clothing, handicrafts and environmentally sound products such as low-energy
light bulbs, are part of a General Assembly-approved program called "Enough
for Everyone."
The Expo symposium will feature a wide range of global economists and other
experts, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberto Menchu, who will
speak on sustainable development and global economic justice.
Kang Bartlett will be attending the WTO meetings as a "credentialed observer"
and will meet with officials of PC(USA) partner organizations in Cancun for
the event, as well as representatives of organizations funded in part by the
Hunger Program.
Information on the fair-trade expo and the WTO meetings is available at
www.foei.org/cancun/what.html, the Web site of Friends of the Earth. For WTO
information, visit www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/whatis_e/whatis_e.htm and
click on "WTO News."
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