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Bringing Fair Trade to the heart of free trade at the WTO Public Forum

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The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) attended the WTO Public Forum 2016 from 27-29 September in Geneva, Switzerland, where it co-organised with the International Trade Union Conference (ITUC) a panel on increasing the bargaining power of small producers and workers in supply chains (audio record available) where also the limitations and adverse effects of current EU competition law regarding the raising of sustainability in supply chains were discussed. This issue is very timely and is laid out in more detail in FTAO’s exploratory study into the case of sustainability exemptions to competition law in the Netherlands and the challenges EU competition law poses.

Featured panellists were:
• Olivier de Schutter, Professor at the University of Louvain (Belgium) and at SciencesPo (Paris) and former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food
• Elske van Efferink, Senior policy advisor CSR, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands
• Peter Rossman, International Officer, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)

For a report of the entire Public Forum and FTAO’s take away what free trade means compared to Fair Trade have a look at this Storify. It includes comments on Cecilia Malmstrom stressing that EU's trade should be driven by values, ITC director Arancha González demanding #goodtrade, new UK Secretary of State sharing his version of free trade, and interventions by Fairtrade Africa's Dr. Nyagoy Nyong'o.

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