Who really cares about "fair trade"?

Submitted by AWL on 29 June, 2002 - 12:01

An estimated 12,000 Fair Trade protesters formed a giant queue along the Thames embankment and across Lambeth Bridge in what the organisers claimed was one of the biggest events of its kind ever held.
Campaigners were calling for a better deal for poor countries.
The Trade Justice Movement believes poorer countries are not competing on a "level playing field", and it wants trade barriers to come down, as well as big companies to pay workers a "living wage".
The Tories and New Labour were keen to jump on the bandwagon, and both parties expressed their support for the lobby. More honestly, Ruth Lea, from the Institute of Directors, said although it was right to talk about taking down trade barriers, "wider regulations, social regulations, environmental regulations - could be damaging to developing countries." The aid agencies, churches and voluntary groups backing the campaign hope that MPs will put pressure on the government to press the case of developing countries in the new round of global trade talks, begun last November in Doha.
Justin Forsyth, head of policy at Oxfam, said: "From today the government can't pretend people don't care about fair trade."

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