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WTO Bali package: A giant step for the WTO, a small step for Fair Trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) agreed last night in Bali a package of measures, possibly the most significant achievement of the WTO since its creation in 1995. The package includes decisions to increase market access opportunities for farmers from Least Developed Countries, in particular cotton farmers, and to temporarily allow governments to take measures to guarantee food security, to be re-discussed in two years´ time.

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Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, stated “We welcome the package as a step in the right direction, yet there is a long way to go before WTO rules become a tool to ensure sustainable livelihoods for all”.

The Fair Trade movement was born on the basis of the conviction that trade (not aid) should deliver long-lasting solutions for poverty eradication. However, for trade to realise its potential, it must be ensured that all actors in the supply chain, in particular small producers and workers, receive a fair share of its benefits, which is still not the case.

The Fair Trade movement joined in October 2013 a wide coalition of Civil Society Organisations calling on the WTO to put “Food, Jobs and Sustainable Development First”. On 26 November 2013, days before the EU trade ministers and the European Commission left for the WTO negotiations in Bali, a European alliance of over 50 civil society organisations, including the Fair Trade Advocacy Office, launched the Alternative Trade Mandate, including proposals to make EU trade and investment policy work for people and the planet.

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The Fair Trade movement would like to join people in South-Africa and across the world in paying tribute to Nelson Mandela, which inspired many to join a people’s movement to make trade fairer. “Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity, it is an act of justice. Like Slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings”. Nelson Mandela 1918-2013.

Earlier related statements
Over 50 civil society groups demand a paradigm shift in EU trade and investment policies 
WTO Turnaround 2013: Food, Jobs and Sustainable Development First 
New Global Challenges Need New Global Leadership 

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