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Fair Trade movement seeks WTO support for advocacy

CEBU, Philippines - The fair trade movement in the world is now inviting different sectors in the world to make influence in the World Trade Organization (WTO) to consider the movement’s advocacy.

Italian hard-core fair trade advocate Rudi Dalvi of Ctm Altromercato Consortium said that the campaign is being mobilized right now and inviting other countries to participate in pushing fair trade principle to the world influential group WTO.

Already, some big fair trade groups, like the Ctm Altromercato had been trying to introduce fair trade system to WTO, but until now there has been no positive feedback about it.

In his recent visit to Cebu, Dalvi said the fair trade movement is now trying to organize a solid group including fair trade representatives and governments in different countries to join the cause.

The greater the number of supporters, this “ambitious” campaign can make a difference and may gain significant attention from the WTO community.

Fair trade is a global movement, with estimated sales of approximately US$5 billion in 2008, average growth of 42 percent in the last two years. It promotes ethical trade practices and responsible supply chains with their purchases.

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It is proactive poverty alleviation through innovative and high quality Philippine food and handicraft products.

It also provides opportunities to disadvantaged producers, and offers fair and equitable working conditions and helps address climate change, whilst generating profits.

WTO is an international organization based in Geneva that monitors and enforces rules governing global trade. It is the international trade body formed by the agreement of member nations.

The WTO is an evolution of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) process designed to resolve trade disputes and work for the lowering of tariff and non-tariff trade barriers.

Opening trade within the WTO139 member-countries may be unfair, if fair trade practice will not be given importance by the WTO, Dalvi said. In some ways, opening trade barriers through lower tariff could kill local industries especially in the small, developing and more so in under-developed economies.

Dalvi’s organization in Italy, the Ctm altromercato Consortium is the principal organization of fair and supportive trade in Italy and it is the second one on the world level.

Composed of 130 associations and cooperatives that manage 350 World Shops (called Botteghe del Mondo) in Italy and 3 abroad, Ctm altromercato is currently a guiding subject, on the national and international levels, in the promotion and realization of initiatives of supportive economy and the self development of the peoples, mainly farmers and crafters in the South of the world.

In the Philippines, Ctm altromercado is closely working with The Advocate of Philippine Fair Trade, Inc (APFTI) and the Southern Partners Fair Trade Corporation (SPFTC) in Cebu.

Dalvi is urging Philippine groups, especially the government to join this campaign in pushing fair trade system to WTO.

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