Press Release: EU takes important step for Fair Trade, but long path ahead for all trade to be fair



14 October 2015 (Brussels) – The European Commission has published today the new EU Trade and Investment Strategy. The EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has unveiled a series of new initiatives to support uptake of Fair Trade at a Fair Trade breakfast that has taken place earlier in the day at the European Parliament. The Fair Trade movement warmly welcomes the new EC pro-active approach on Fair Trade and looks forward to working together with the European Union towards making all trade fair.

The EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström launched today the new EU Trade and Investment Strategy “Trade for all: Towards a more responsible trade and investment policy” and stated that the new EU trade agenda will “not only project out interests but also our values”.

The Commission acknowledges in the new EU trade policy blueprint that Fair Trade contributes to developing more sustainable trade opportunities for small producers in third countries. It also identifies a list of new pro-active initiatives the EC will take, such as supporting EU delegations in promoting Fair Trade among small producers in the Global South or putting in place a ‘EU City for Fair and Ethical Trade’ award. The Fair Trade movement welcomes the recognition by the Commission that comprehensive strategy to make trade fair must necessarily involve unlocking the power of citizens, businesses, small producers, local authorities, with a smart combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches.

“We thank Commissioner Malmström for the open dialogue with the Fair Trade movement and the various concrete initiatives in support of Fair Trade announced in the new EU Trade Strategy”, ”, stated Sergi Corbalán, Executive Director of the Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The Fair Trade movement welcomes the recognition that “trade should not be an end in itself” and calls on the European Union to implement the new EU trade agenda in a way that puts people and the planet first, as called for by the Alternative Trade Mandate Alliance. It also welcomes the commitment to apply transparency at all stages of the negotiating cycle of all trade negotiations. Marginalised producers and workers must have seat at the table when governments negotiate trade deals, which can have positive but also negative consequences on their livelihoods.

“Phasing out unfair trade is a finish line that is still far. Let´s run this marathon together” concluded Sergi Corbalán.

Click here to read the FTAO position paper “An innovative EU approach in support of Fair Trade practices in the new EU Trade & Investment Strategy” of July 2015. 

The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out 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 World Fair Trade Organization-Global and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe.

Contact: 
Sergi Corbalán | corbalan@fairtrade-advocacy.org | Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3
Fair Trade Advocacy Office / Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium
www.fairtrade-advocacy.org