In response to the inclusion of a Trade Bill in the Queen’s Speech on Wednesday 21 June, which proposes the UK setting its own trade rules with countries around the world, the Fairtrade Foundation has called on International Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP to take this opportunity to ensure that any changes make a positive difference to poorer developing countries.
Tim Aldred, Head of Policy of the Fairtrade Foundation, said:
“This is a further step towards the UK making independent decisions on trade with the rest of the world. The UK can set an example to other rich countries by making it easier for poor countries to trade their way out of poverty. But it could go the other way: without the right guarantees, 47% of developing country imports face additional tariffs and those costs could push millions of vulnerable farmers into poverty.
“The public care about this – ahead of the election more than 38,000 people called on the UK government to change trade for good – we want the government to put the farmers and workers in developing countries who grow our food first, and commit to trade deals which are truly fair. We’d also like Parliament to start scrutinising future trade deals to make sure they are fair to developing countries.”
As part of the Brexit transition, the UK’s new Trade Bill would spell out how Westminster is to make decisions about trade deals instead of Brussels.
However, EU rules currently mean products the UK imports from the poorest countries are largely exempt from charges or taxes. But if equivalent rules aren’t put in place in the UK’s trade policy, 116 countries could have to pay at least £1 billion in extra taxes.
A report published earlier this year ‘Brexit: Let’s change trade for good’ revealed that this would seriously harm the incomes of millions of people around the world who produce some of the UK’s favourite products, be it coffee, sugar or bananas.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Fairtrade Foundation and other charities are campaigning to ensure post Brexit trade deals protect farmers in poor countries. More than 38,000 signed a petition which was handed in to the Department for International Trade on the 18th April. To find out more about the campaign visit fairtrade.org.uk/brexit
For more information please contact the Fairtrade Foundation press office:
firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7440 8597, Mobile: +44 (0)7766 504947
About Fairtrade Foundation
– The FAIRTRADE Mark on products is an independent consumer label that appears on products to show that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal from trade.
– Today, more than 1.65 million people – farmers and workers – across more than 76 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
– Over 5,000 products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark in the UK including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts, wines, ales, rum, confectionery, muesli, cereal bars, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cotton wool, olive oil, gold, silver and platinum.
– Awareness of the FAIRTRADE Mark continues to be high in 2015, at a level of 93%.