The Chicago ALBA Solidarity Committee is inviting everyone to a webinar organized by the Nicaragua Solidarity Coalition, with the participation of high-level officials from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela, to expose the attacks that successive US administrations have unsuccessfully launched over the years to destroy the Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas – Peoples Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP). The speakers will be: from Cuba, Héctor Igarza Cabrera, ambassador to Canada; from Venezuela, Carlos Ron, Venezuela’s deputy foreign affairs minister for North America; and from Nicaragua, Minister of Commerce Jesús Bermudez.
Fair Trade USA released a new “Fair Trade Dairy” label in partnership with Chobani. It’s a program that has been opposed by farmworker and human rights organizations since it was first announced. Now that there is yogurt on the shelf, but still no final standard released, this report looks at the label claims and evaluates “Fair Trade Dairy” based on the available standards. The critique focuses on three key areas: Inadequate standards development process Standards that are not fit for purpose Lack of enforcement mechanisms Finally, the report also reviews the rising tide of research that shows that corporate-developed and led certifications are inadequate and points instead to existing models that are better suited to defending workers’ rights and safety.
Ethical shopping is a somewhat new phenomenon. We're far more familiar with the "tried and tested" methods of doing good, like donating our money or time. But while Americans generously donated $390 billion to charities in 2017, that number pales in comparison to the $130 trillion we spent on buying stuff in the same year. How much of that went to huge companies that don't support your values-or worse, use their revenue to actively work against them? Conscious consumers prefer to spend money with transparent companies that support the same causes they do.
Washington — In honor of October as Fair Trade Month, Fairtrade America is launching a national campaign to generate broader awareness for how a simple action, like purchasing a Fairtrade certified product, can be a powerful way to make a difference in the lives of the almost 2 million farmers and workers participating in Fairtrade across the globe. The ‘Choose Fairtrade: Choose the World You Want,’ campaign features murals in three major U.S. cities — Denver, Los Angeles and Nashville — that connect stories of the people who produce the things we count on every day, such as coffee, cocoa, bananas, tea and more, to the positive impacts of Fairtrade.
As with So. Korea, an early look at the Mexico-US deal late last week showed token changes on autos and steel. No tariffs, just phony quotas on car imports to US. (Trump has recently also quietly exempted other big steel importers to the US (Brazil, etc. from the 25% tariffs he announced last March). Mexico deal details will show few if any tariffs, some quotas well above current actual levels so they have no effect, and the US-Trump backing off the threat to change how disputes are resolved over trade issues. Trump essentially agreeing to the Mexico (and Canada) positions that no changes should be made to the past process. Mexico has apparently not agreed to slow imports of autos and steel to the US. Just to raise North American auto parts content to 75% from 62.5%, and to raise Mexican auto workers wages to $16/hr. (but only on 40% of Mexican auto workers)!
Not all fair-trade certification labels are created equal, according to a new report by the Fair World Project (FWP). The report breaks down the various definitions of the most common fair-trade certifications, and the role verification programs play in the global fair trade movement. “Fairness for Farmers: A Report Assessing the Fair Trade Movement and the Role of Certification,” identifies the fundamental differences between six fair trade product labels. It also emphasizes the importance of purchasing fair-trade certified products to ensure farmer fairness and to combat power imbalances often seen within global supply chains. The report states: Small-scale farmers face many threats including land grabbing, unfair trade agreements, lack of government and technical support, low and volatile prices, uneven wealth distribution, corporate control of the food system, and climate change.
Tell Trump: Don’t Revive the TPP Trump promised he would end this terrible trade deal and got elected because he
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. The NAFTA-2 negotiations seem to be faltering after the fourth round of talks recently held in the United States. The Trump administration is pushing Mexico and Canada aggressively to include provisions from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) in order to renegotiate NAFTA in a way that benefits US corporations. Mexico and the US are under particularly high pressure to complete the talks successfully as each country has major elections in 2018. News reports of the highly secretive talks describe the negotiations as hitting roadblocks.
By Staff for Politico Morning Trade. Trade agreements have become politically toxic. President Obama has three trade deals he has been pursuing, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). They all need to be stopped. The administration has used secrecy as their key tool. Their view is the less people know, the more likely an agreement is to become law. Why? Becuase these agreements are unpopular. They are written by and for transnational corporations and not for the protection of people and the planet. During the 2016 election we have seen how these agreements have become politically toxic. Obama hopes to get the TPP through a lame duck session of Congress, a time when many members of Congress are in their last session because they are retiting or lost re-election. He knows he could not get the TPP through Congress at any other time this year. We need to stop these agreements and then demand a total rethinking of how trade proceeds. We can create trade agreements that serve the economy but also serve the interests of the people in safe good and services, living wages and safe conditions for workers, as well as aid the world in dealing with climate change and protecting the environment.
By Ilana Solomon of the Sierra Club. In 2015, new trade and investment cases, leaks and texts all demonstrated how trade rules present a significant threat to our environment and climate. But 2015 was also a year of unprecedented grassroots mobilization on trade, indicating that -- if we continue to build on this momentum -- we can close the curtains of the free trade era. Let's review 2015's trade-and-environment highlight reel -- which demonstrates why 2016 must be the year to stop harmful trade pacts and build a new model of trade that supports communities, our environment and climate. 2015 was also a year of incredible mobilization against harmful trade pacts. If we continue this work and build our movement we will build a new model of trade that puts the interests of communities and the environment before the interests of multinational corporations. Our short-term work is to stop harmful trade agreements. Our long-term work is to continue to build our movement so strong and fierce that it becomes unthinkable for governments to allow trade rules to undermine environmental and public interest policies because the backlash would be too severe.
By Flush the TPP. If they become law, international treaties like the TransPacific Partnership (TPP), TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trade-in-Services Agreement (TISA) will fundamentally alter the global economy and global governance in a way that further empowers transnational corporations while decreasing the power of nation-states and people. These treaties will create a permanent path that makes corporate profit more important than the needs of people and protection of the planet. They will drive a global race to the bottom in wages and worker rights, food safety, internet freedom, access to health care, protection of the environment and more. It is up to us to organize and build power to stop the race to the bottom in its tracks! The Buycott is a tactic that people all over the world can use. It is not only a form of resistance, of non-cooperation, but it is also a way to create the necessary alternative – trade that lifts communities up and protects the planet as a first priority.
Millions are rising globally to challenge corporate domination of government, people, and the commons, and building a ‘movement of movements’. Hundreds gathered in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, for the ‘Moving Beyond Capitalism’ Conference in August, 2014, and we share the millions’ principles for building a new world. This new world is founded upon the basic human rights principles of universality, accountability, transparency, and equity. It is rooted in interconnection, interdependence, and love. It is based on a popular sovereignty which involves direct, democratic participation in shared, from-the-ground-up, cooperative decision-making for collective action that serves the common good, with higher levels supporting the lower.
Pact Apparel offers a range of soft basics, from socks to tees in GOTS-certified organic cottons. The company has now also earned Fair Trade certification for many of its products, and is working to get certification for even more of its factories. Few American brands own factories, but rather have contracts with facilities overseas to produce the styles they design. In much of the world, wages for garment workers have stagnated or even gone down, while the cost of living goes up around them. Fair Trade certification has helped Pact better support the makers of their clothes. “It’s an opportunity for us as a brand to pay the right price for the product,” said Jeff Denby, founder of Pact. Fair Trade also guarantees that factory employees have full-time work, rather than seasonal jobs. Currently, all of the products being produced for Pact in India are certified by Fair Trade U.S.A., and the company is working with their sock factory in Turkey to also earn its certification. Denby has a background in mass-production, and previously worked at a firm that designed “everything from forks to furniture” for large retailers. He was appalled by the factory conditions he encountered while working in Asia, and concluded there must be a better way. “We don’t have to kill people to make mass-produced products.”
But, there is an alternative. If the goal of a movement is economic transformation, US and THEM can actually become WE – considerably more complex and nuanced an approach, but at the end of the day, a much more inspiring and worthwhile goal. And imagine the difference, when people feel ownership in a business model: farmers, workers, members all have a different relationship to their work when they own the decisions… and the results of those decisions. Not only are co-operatives a more empowering model in and of themselves, but in a co-operative economy, the entire system can be transformative. Supply chains are carefully and thoughtfully built so that while each party has their role to fill, a true partnership is formed – people are not reduced to mere “producer” or “consumer”, but instead, all parties along the supply chain become actors, more fully developed and invested in the entire supply chain, the product and the partnerships: quality, integrity, respect and transparency occur throughout the chain.