EU-US trade talks: People have the right to know what’s at stake

Brussels/Washington, May 19, 2014 – Over 250 civil society organisations and networks have today called on the European Commission to open up the EU-US trade negotiations for public scrutiny. The fifth round of negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) begins today in Washington amid growing frustration at the secrecy of the process.

In a letter to European Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, the organisations ask for the publication of the negotiating mandate, all documents submitted by the European Union during the negotiations, and the negotiating texts themselves [1]. Citizens have the right to know what is being put on the table, and how this is being negotiated, say the groups.

Magda Stoczkiewicz, director for Friends of the Earth Europe said: “These negotiations have the potential to impact upon many aspects of life for citizens here and in the US, from food or chemical safety to the environment. The European Commission cannot continue to remain deaf to civil society calls for transparency – people have the right to know what’s at stake.”

In February Friends of the Earth Europe, ClientEarth, Corporate Europe Observatory, the European Environmental Bureau and the European Federation of Journalists requested access to the negotiating mandate of the European Union, as well as text relating to the positions on issues such as regulator cooperation, the investor-state dispute settlement, the chemical sector, food safety, sustainable development and energy [2]. The European Commission denied access to all.

Under the guise of 'regulatory coherence', safeguards related to these issues will be put up for negotiation. This has raised concerns among many actors about the likely weakening of public safeguards and new institutional structures, and about allowing excessive industry influence over decision-making [3].  As it stands, Friends of the Earth Europe remains concerned the deal will trade away democracy in Europe, and safeguards that protect people and the environment.

“It’s amazing that the longest living democracies in Europe and the United States cannot negotiate in public” said Erich Pica, President of Friends of the Earth United States. "Why keep these negotiations secret? Why do corporate lobbyists have privileged access to negotiators and text and not the public?”

Negotiations for a trade deal between the European Union and the United States started in July 2013. If agreed, the deal will be the biggest bilateral free trade agreement in history.
 
***
For more information please contact:

Natacha Cingotti, corporate and transparency campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe, (FRE/EN)
Tel: +32 (0) 492 948 898, email: natacha.cingotti@foeeurope.org

Sam Fleet, communications officer, Friends of the Earth Europe, (EN)
Tel: +32 (0) 2893 1012, email: samuel.fleet@foeeurope.org

William Waren, Friends of the Earth U.S.,
Tel: +011 1 202 222-0746, email: wwaren@foe.org

***
NOTES:
[1] Over 250 organisations, including trade unions, consumers, grassroots and development organisations and transparency watchdogs are calling on the European Commission to open-up the EU-US trade talks and make the negotiation process more transparent: http://www.foeeurope.org/right-to-know

[2] http://www.foeeurope.org/eu-us-trade-people-have-right-to-know-190514

The groups requested access to the following documents:
a) The text of the EU mandate;
b) The text of the EU’s positions on regulatory cooperation, ISDS, the chemical sector, food safety, sustainable development and energy as disclosed to the Government of the United States;
c) Any other reports or papers provided to the US by the EU on the topics identified above in b);
d) Any reports or papers provided to EU Member States and the European Parliament on the topics identified in b) above.

[3] http://www.tni.org/pressrelease/proposed-plans-useu-trade-deal-would-weaken-health-consumer-worker-and-environmental
--

European Youth Event hosts debate on World Fair Trade Day

9 May 2014 (Strasbourg) – A public debate amongst a Fair Trade producer from El Salvador, candidates to the European Parliament elections and dozens of young Europeans will take place on the occasion of World Fair Trade Day. The debate will take place tomorrow 10 May in Strasbourg, in the context of the European Youth Event 2014.

The European Youth Event will join the worldwide celebrations on World Fair Trade Day by hosting a debate on the main stage of the European Youth Event on Saturday 10 May at 12h CET.

Mr Jose Alexander Flores, member of the Fair Trade producer association APRAINORES in El Salvador will, as keynote speaker, kick-off a debate amongst candidates to the European Parliament and dozens of young Europeans on how the European Union could support Fair Trade after the European Parliament elections taking place from 22 to 25 May 2014 across the 28 European Union Member States.

The event is part of the Vote for Fair Trade (Vote4FT) campaign, co-funded by the European Commission, that aims at creating a dialogue between Fair Trade producers, EU citizens and EU policy-makers and take a pro-active role in shaping EU policies in support of Fair Trade. The Fair Trade manifesto, which has been endorsed by three leading European Commission Presidency candidates and numerous candidates to the European Parliament elections, lays down the main five Fair Trade movement demands to the European Union for the legislative period 2014-2019.

Notes to editors:

On 9-11 May the European Parliament will bring together thousands of young people for the European Youth Event 2014 (EYE), which has as this year’s motto "Ideas for a better Europe". More information under: link

The event is an initiative of the European Parliament organised in partnership with the European Youth Forum, the platform of youth organisations in Europe. It represents 99 youth organisations, both National Youth Councils and International Non-Governmental Youth Organisation.More information under: www.youthforum.org

Aprainores is a Fair Trade producer association consisting of over 60 families located around San Carlos Lempa, near the mouth of the Lempa River in El Salvador. Families are subsistence farmers whose sole cash income is from small cashew holdings. Together they own a processing plant employing 40-70 seasonal workers (up to nine months). More information under: link.

World Fair Trade Day, an initiative of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), takes place on the second Saturday of May of each year. It is an inclusive worldwide festival of events celebrating Fair Trade as a tangible contribution to the fight against poverty and exploitation, climate change and the economic crisis that has the greatest impact on the world’s most vulnerable populations.From the Pacific islands to the Andes, Palestine to Bangladesh, Mongolia to Kenya, seminars, hunger banquets, fairs, concerts and drumming and Fair Trade fashion shows will mark the day under the theme “Fair Trade People”, recognising that Fair Trade producers and the people buying their products are the real drivers of the growth of Fair Trade.

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out on behalf of the Fair Trade movement for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the European Fair Trade Association and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe. Through these three networks the FTAO represents an estimate of 2.5 million Fair Trade producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers.

Contact:

Sebastien Leclef | Project Coordinator

Tel: +32 (0) 2 543 19 24 | Fax: +32 (0) 2 543 44 44 | leclef@fairtrade-advocacy.org

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | Rue Fernand Bernierstraat, 15 | 1060 - Brussels – Belgium 

www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

EU1bb32dThis document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Fair Trade Advocacy Office and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

 

Third candidate for the European Commission Presidency announces support for the Fair Trade Manifesto

24 April 2014 (Brussels) - Another leading candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission has endorsed the Fair Trade manifesto. Meeting with the FTAO team, Jean-Claude Juncker, candidate for the European People’s Party, stated his support for the Vote for Fair Trade Manifesto, thereby joining Ska Keller and Martin Schulz, who had done so earlier this month.  

Keller Schulz Juncker support FT   Click here for higher resolution pictures of  respectively the groupS. KellerM. Schulz and J.C. Juncker.

The Fair Trade movement launched in 2013 the Vote for Fair Trade (Vote4FT) campaign, with the financial assistance of the European Commission, with the objective to create a dialogue between EU citizens, Fair Trade producers and EU decision-makers on the policies that the EU should put in place to support Fair Trade. A key document in this campaign is the Vote4FT Manifesto, which lays down the main five demands to the European Union for the 2014-2019 term.
 
Jean-Claude Juncker, candidate for the European People’s Party, now joined Martin Schulz, common candidate for the Party of European Socialists and Ska Keller, co-candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission for the European Green Party, who had already endorsed the five Fair Trade movement demands earlier this month. The Manifesto has also been signed by key candidates to the European Parliament elections from various European political families in the Parliament, including the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe and the Party of the European Left. Ten of these candidates, across countries and parties, seized the opportunity to explain why they support Fair Trade in a short video that is available online.
 
Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, stated “We welcome the support to the Vote for Fair Trade manifesto by three lead European Commission Presidency candidates, reflecting the growing support to Fair Trade by EU citizens. The times of free trade fundamentalism are over. The Commission badly needs a new leadership that puts in place a European strategy for Fair Trade”. 
 
The Fair Trade movement is composed of 2.5 million producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers. On the run up to the European Parliament elections taking place from 20 to 25 May, the Fair Trade movement will be engaging candidates running for the European elections in more than 20 EU Member States, asking them to endorse the 5 demands in the manifesto and making the results available on the campaign website.

Contact:

Sebastien Leclef | leclef@fairtrade-advocacy.org | Tel: +32 (0)2 543 19 23

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels - Belgium

EU1bb32dThis document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Fair Trade Advocacy Office and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

Your clothes already tell a story about who you are. Now they can tell a better one.

FashionRevolutioDay

The global fashion industry is coming together to highlight the challenges of the fashion supply chain, from exploitation to pollution, with the inaugural Fashion Revolution Day on the 24th April 2014, when a series of global events and initiatives will highlight the fashion industry's most pressing issues and engage local communities to demand greater transparency throughout.

On April 24th last year, 1133 people were killed when the Rana Plaza factory complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Many more were injured.

The textile industry is widely regarded as a major contributor to global pollution but, according to research by Deloitte, 2 in 3 fashion companies are not focused on engaging consumers with regard to sustainability. According to the Australian Fashion Report in 2013[1], 61% of companies surveyed didn’t know where their garments were made.

Fashion Revolution Day says enough is enough.

Fashion is a force to be reckoned with. It inspires, provokes, leads and entertains. And, from April 2014, it’s going to do even more. Because we’re turning fashion into a force for good.

With one simple question: 'Who Made Your Clothes?' we’re asking everyone who’s taking part in Fashion Revolution Day to be curious, find out, do something about it, by wearing an item of clothing inside out, photographing it and then sharing it with the hashtag #insideout on all social networks.

That way, people all over the world – designers and icons, high street shops and high couture, cotton farmers and factory workers, campaigners, academics, the media and any individual who cares about what they wear – can come together to demand greater transparency.

There will be events and activities from Somerset House to the House of Lords and all around the UK catwalks and panels discussions, film screenings and knitting evenings, quiz nights and gatherings. Global events will include a mass catwalk in the centre of Barcelona; a workshop in Nepal on how to clean up waste water from dye houses; a fashion show in Bangladesh with producers wearing the clothes they make; a touring exhibition in Swaziland documenting the lives of local artisans and fashion boutiques the world over will turn their window displays #insideout to show their involvement.

Supported by some of the biggest names in ethical fashion, including activist Bianca Jagger and journalists Lucy Siegle and Tamsin Blanchard, Fashion Revolution Day marks the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory disaster in Dhaka, Bangladesh, but represents much more than that, as this is only the beginning of a long journey of transformation.

Over 20 celebrities, including eco-fashion icon and Fashion Revolution Day Board member Livia Firth, retail expert and broadcaster Mary Portas and television and entrepreneur Jo Wood, have already lent their support to the campaign by being photographed with their t-shirt insideout by iconic British portrait photographer Trevor Leighton.

As well as the multitude of global events to mark the day, there will be a series of global ‘social media takeovers’ hosted at @Fash_Rev. These are scheduled events, held on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to allow like_minded people to connect and discuss a topic of choice. Subjects for discussion will include how to revamp unworn clothes, first hand accounts of life for workers in factories that supply our best_known retailers, Twitter Q&As from organisations such as Greenpeace and Fairtrade Foundation and Centre For Sustainable Fashion, as well as Facebook mini blogs from Fashion Revolution board members and supporters.

“The idea for Fashion Revolution Day came to me in the bath,” said Founder of Fashion Revolution and ethical fashion pioneer, Cary Somers. “I saw that the Rana Plaza disaster could act as a catalyst, with the heightened awareness around ethical fashion providing a window to bring about real change. Fashion Revolution Day represents an exciting opportunity to reconnect fashion_lovers with the people who made their clothes.”

"Fashion Revolution Day promises to be one of the very few truly global campaigns to emerge this century" says Baroness Young of Hornsey who set up the All_Party Parliamentary Group on Ethics and Sustainability in Fashion.

Co-founder Orsola de Castro says: “With one simple gesture, #insideout, we want you to ask: 'Who Made Your Clothes?' this action will encourage people to imagine the ‘thread’ from the garment to the machinist that sewed it and all the way down to the farmer that grew the cotton it was made from. We hope that Fashion Revolution Day will initiate a process of discovery, raising awareness of the fact that buying is only the last step in a long journey involving hundreds of people: the invisible workforce behind the clothes we wear".

Find out more at www.fashionrevolution.org. Like Fashion Revolution on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fashionrevolution.org and follow @Fash_Rev on Twitter.

For more photos, information or to arrange an interview please contact:
• Martine Parry _ martine.julseth@fairtrade.org.uk
• Jen Harris – jen@kaper.uk.com _ +44 (0)203 301 2210
• Lisa Shetabi – Lisa@kaper.uk.com
How to support Fashion Revolution Day:
• On the 24th April, wear an item of clothing inside out
• Photograph yourself in it
• Ask the brand Who Made Your Clothes?
• Share the picture on social media with the hashtag #insideout.

About Fashion Revolution:
Fashion Revolution is composed of key figures from the fashion industry and beyond: industry leaders; press; campaigners; consultants; representatives from charities and campaign organisations; academics and more. With a wide range of expertise, the Fashion Revolution Advisory Committee will work to ensure that this day becomes a significant, annual global event. We have country co-ordinators in over 50 countries who will be participating in the first Fashion Revolution Day on 24 April 2014.



[1] The Australian Fashion Report launched 19th August 2013 by Baptist World Aid and Not for Sale Australia!


Vote for Fair Trade Manifesto is launched with the endorsement of two European Commission President candidates

4 April 2014 (Brussels) - The Vote for Fair Trade (Vote4FT) Manifesto was officially launched at an event hosted by the European Parliament Fair Trade Working Group in the evening of 2 April. The Manifesto, which lays down the main Fair Trade movement demands to the European Union for the 2014-2019 term, has already been endorsed by Martin Schulz, common candidate for the Party of European Socialists and by Ska Keller, co-candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission for the European Green Party.

Martin Schulz SpeechBubble                   Ska Keller speech bubble-002  High-quality picture here.                                                                                     High-quality picture here.

The Fair Trade movement launched in 2013 the Vote for Fair Trade (Vote4FT) campaign, with the financial assistance of the European Commission, with the objective to create a dialogue between EU citizens, Fair Trade producers and EU decision-makers on the policies that the EU should put in place to support Fair Trade. A key milestone in this campaign is the public launch of the Vote4FT Manifesto, which lays down themain five demands to the European Union for the 2014-2019 term.

Martin Schulz, common candidate for the Party of European Socialists and Ska Keller, co-candidate for the Presidency of the European Commission for the European Green Party, have already endorsed the five Fair Trade movement demands. The Manifesto has also been signed by key candidates to the European Parliament elections from various European political families in the Parliament, including the European People’s Party and the Party of the European Left. Seven of these candidates, across countries and parties, seized the opportunity to explain why they support Fair Trade in a short video that is available online.

The Fair Trade movement is composed of 2.5 million producers and workers from 70 countries, 24 labelling initiatives, over 500 specialised Fair Trade importers, 4,000 World Shops and more than 100,000 volunteers. On the run up to the European Parliament elections taking place from 20 to 25 May, the Fair Trade movement will be engaging candidates running for the European elections in more than 20 EU Member States, asking them to endorse the 5 demands in the manifesto and making the results available on the campaign website.

Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, stated “More transparency is badly needed in EU trade policy-making, so the best way to start is by publishing which European elections candidates committ to which of the five main Fair Trade movement demands. We hope to provide information to allow EU citizens to make an informed voting decision when they go to the polls”.

 

Contact:

Sebastien Leclef

Project Coordinator

Fair Trade Advocacy Office

Village Partenaire - bureau 1

Rue Fernand Bernierstraat, 15

1060 - Brussels - Belgium

Tel: +32 (0)2 543 19 23

E-mail: leclef@fairtrade-advocacy.org

Website: www.fairtrade-advocacy.org

 

EU1bb32d

This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of Fair Trade Advocacy Office and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.

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