Fair Trade Sails into View
06 Apr 2006
Fairtrade producers gathered in Hong Kong to attend Fairtrade fair and symposium’, publicising green industry and ethical buying.
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Fairtrade producers gathered at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre to attend a Fairtrade fair and symposium’. Over three days the ethical advocates took part in events publicising green industry and ethical buying. The aim of the gathering was to promote Fairtrade, emphasising its impact on economic development and the improvements it makes to the lives of people around the world. In contrast to the empty streets outside Hong Kong’s Convention Centre during the World Trade Organisation’s meeting in December, the nearby market place was filled with diverse Fairtrade wares from all over the world. There were silk bags from Vietnam, organic olive oils from the West Bank, woollen finger puppets from Peru and hand-made paper books from the Philippines. Each unique item came with its own proud history and details of how it was ethically sourced. Fairtrade producers and advocates gathered at the Fair and Symposium in Hong Kong’s Exhibition Centre to show the world how ethical business promotes economic development and improves people’s lives. During the three day event organised by such groups as Oxfam HK and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, a symposium and a fashion show were held, along with a global gathering where producers from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America could all share stories about the enormous impact of Fairtrade in their own communities. ‘We are supporting a system that gives dignity to workers, preserves the environment and is a powerful engine for revitalising a stagnant economy,’ said Patricia Jurewicz of the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.Growing in popularity over the past decade, Fairtrade guarantees a fair wage to producers and builds reliable partnerships between the producers and their customers. Fairtrade is just becoming known in Hong Kong, thanks to both events like this and Oxfam Hong Kong’s Make Trade Fair Campaign.The three day event started with a speech on free trade in Asia by Nobel Laureate, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz of Columbia University. It was followed by a one day symposium with experts on Fairtrade and commerce addressing topics such as creating consumer awareness, expanding Fairtrade markets in Asia and the relationship of Fairtrade to WTO policies. Other speakers included Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development of Germany, who said: ‘Get these products into the supermarkets and then decide for yourself. You have to ask is there child labour in it and who has produced it? These questions are asked more and more by consumers.’ ‘Fairtrade places the livelihoods of people and communities at its centre. There has been remarkable growth in many different countries. The WTO could learn a lot from this movement,’ said Patricia Jurewicz.Contact: www.fairtradeexpo.org or www.fairtrade.net or www.ifat.org Oxfam HK: www.oxfam.org.hkPhotos: © Oxfam Hong Kong
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