from Meeting on 3rd June
from Meeting Report
from Meeting on 3rd June
on Fair Trade
While outside in the street
fishermen marched in protest and burned a car, this
meeting was held in
view of the Commission's intention to draft a response to:
In these documents measures such as a stakeholder dialogue, studies,
VAT relief, "Aid for Fair Trade" and a central contact point are called
for to benefit "consumer assurance schemes" like those of Fair Trade.
- a European Parliament resolution on
Fair Trade and development in 2005
making several radical proposals including a reference to corporate
social responsibility (CSR).
- an opinion of the European Economic
and Social Committee on Ethical Trade and Consumer Assurance
(exploratory opinion) in 2005 also mentioning corporate social
responsibility. In particular, its Article 3.3 refers to the WTO
compatibility of NGO efforts stating that "The non-statutory nature of
such consumer assurance schemes requires the costs of implementation to
be borne by consumers, and therefore it is consumer demand –
expressed through the operation of the market – that encourages
and discourages growth. It also means that compliance with competition
and WTO trade rules is not compromised in the effort to promote good
practice. On the other hand, voluntary schemes do not replace the need
for proper regulatory frameworks within WTO to ensure that basic
minimum standards are met in all trading relationships between
In contrast to these predated facts of the matter (including a
conference in 2007, programme in PDF), the representatives of DG
Trade claimed they had left the field open in an attempt to promote
civil society initiatives during the session. However it immediately
became apparent that there was a credibility gap delaying further
progress between the participants at the session and the
representatives of DG Trade. This was referred to in interventions by
Thomas Ruddy, Charly Poppe of Friends of the Earth, Johan De Clercq of
Max Havelaar, Ms. Guttenstein of ISEAL, Ms. Osterhaus of the
International Federation for Alternative Trade, two representatives of
the Plate-Forme pour le Commerce Equitable, Marlike Kocken of the
European Fair Trade Association and Mr. Justice of the International
Trade Union Confederation.
Thomas Ruddy and the Trade Union representative referred to parallels
to the case of CSR, where a role for the European Commission had been
sought in EP resolutions. Thomas Ruddy asked whether there were plans
for a wider, larger-scale stakeholder dialogue as in the case of CSR,
and no satisfactory answer was given.
SERI has a special highlight this month on International Trade and Environmental Impacts.
Updated: 9th June
up to http://www.wsis.ethz.ch/seri.htm
member page Thomas Ruddy
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