As the UK renegotiates trade deals, let’s make them fair.

Fairtrade Foundation policy briefing & discussion paper

July 22nd 2016

The UK is about to renegotiate trade arrangements with a large number of countries around the world. This could have serious consequences for millions of jobs and livelihoods in very poor countries. Government must instead ensure that changes in trade arrangements lead to fairer trading relationships that help end poverty.

The implications of leaving the EU for fair trade are highly complex and our public position is likely to evolve as the impacts and context become clearer with time. We welcome feedback and dialogue.

Introduction

This briefing is to explain the trade risks and opportunities the Fairtrade Foundation sees for farmers and workers in developing countries arising from the UK’s decision to leave the EU[1]. We also explain what government must do to ensure that UK commitment to reducing poverty through trade is strengthened, not undermined.

Fairtrade[2]’s aim is to end poverty through fairer trade. We work with over 1.6 million smallholder farmers and plantation workers in some of the world’s poorest countries to deliver fairer terms of trade, improved human rights and environmental sustainability. In the UK we work with over 400 companies, with the UK retail market for Fairtrade produce worth over £1.6 billion in 2015.

[1] The Fairtrade Foundation has not at any time taken a position on whether the UK should leave the EU, or the terms on which it should do so.

[2] This paper uses “Fairtrade” to refer to trade in partnership with the Fairtrade Foundation, and “fair trade” to refer to the broader principle of trading fairly with poor countries and producers, on terms designed to end poverty.

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