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At the Fair Trade Social Evening held at St John's Methodist Church Hall on 2nd March, Fr Tony gave a talk about Trade Justice and urged people to write to certain politicians now, including those who will be our representatives at the G8 in June 2013. Here are his notes and a sample letter:-

Download these notes and sample letter as a Word document


Churches Together in Settle and District
Revd Mgr Anthony B Boylan
Catholic priest in Settle and Bentham

TRADE JUSTICE: What is the problem?

We see more and more items in our supermarkets now that carry the “Fair Trade” label. Thousands of farmers benefit from that campaign. When you buy a product with that label, you know that the farmer who produced it got a fair price for it - and a little bit extra to help the development of his community. That’s good, but it’s not that good. The problem is hugely bigger than that.

Many millions more farmers could join them if it wasn’t for unjust international trade rules and practices that hamper the attempts of poor countries to trade out of poverty. Examples:

  • Many countries impose tariffs - a kind of tax on imports. These hamper the ability of farmers to get the best deals for their produce. For example, Japan imposes of 500% tariff on rice. That makes it impossible for rice farmers in poor countries to sell their crop in Japan.
  • The European Union and the USA give massive subsidies to their farmers. This results in overproduction of food. The surplus is then “dumped” on poor countries at unrealistically low prices. That makes it impossible for the local farmers to sell even their own products even in their own country.

Who makes the trade rules? The international organizations such as the World Trade Organization and the World Bank do, but these are dominated by the wealthiest countries, who make rules that benefit them and increase their trading profits.

Another evil is that many unscrupulous multi-national companies legally based in tax havens are adept at tax-avoidance. In poor countries, where they do business, they shelter behind their international status and avoid the taxes normally payable by companies native to those countries. Poor countries lose three times more to tax havens than they receive in aid.

The Trade Justice Movement campaigns to get governments and international bodies to rewrite unjust trade rules and to ban practices such as those above. It campaigns for trade rules and practices that will not harm people in developing countries but will benefit them. Nelson Mandela said of the Movement: “Trade Justice for the developing world... is a truly significant way for the developed countries to show commitment to bringing about an end to global poverty.”

Fairtrade Fortnight (26 Feb - 12 March, 2013) is a good time to learn about this really important issue and to join the campaign to make changes.

The Fairtrade movement is good, but it only remedies the evils that are the result of unjust rules and practices. It is the trade rules and practices themselves that need to change. The Trade Justice Movement campaigns to change the rules and practices that cause the evils. If all trade rules and practices were just, there would be no need for the Fairtrade movement.



What can we do about it?

1. Learn about the issues


NB:Trade Justice Movement ( has many links to other sites

CAFOD especially the Hungry for Change campaign (

Christian Aid: - especially

Quaker Peace and Social Witness



World Trade Organization: learn why it has been largely ineffective


G8UK (2013) learn what the PM’s aims for the summit are


2. Join the Campaign

The marchExample: in 2005 the ‘Make Poverty History’ campaign took place because the G8 summit was taking place in the UK - at Gleneagles in Scotland. It was extremely successful in that many hundreds of thousands of people became involved in the campaign in one way or another. The sad side of it was that the campaign was blown off the headlines completely by the 7/7 bombings in London.

The G8 summit takes place annually - a meeting of the heads of government of the 8 wealthiest nations. It moves around from country to country.

In 2013 the G8 will again meet in the UK - this time at Loch Erne in N. Ireland. Our own PM is President of the G8 for this year and will chair that meeting.

This is a very good opportunity to make known to our leaders our concerns about the issues in the TRADE JUSTICE Movement.


Who do I write to?


The principal UK Government Departments concerned with these issues are:

  • The Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Within that Dept the Minister of State for Trade and Investment has responsibility for these issues. He is: Lord Stephen Green

The Rt Hon Lord Green of Hurstpoint
House of Lords, LONDON, SW1A 0PW

Writing to him: Dear Lord Green
or Dear Minister of State

  • The Department for International Development.

    The Secretary of State is: Justine Greening, MP (Putney)

    The Rt Hon Justine Greening MP
    House of Commons, LONDON, SW1A 0AA

    Writing to her: Dear Ms Greening
    or Dear Secretary of State

    These two government ministers will attend the G8 summit along with the PM.


    Any letter written to either of these, send a copy to our own MP (Skipton and Ripon), who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Justine Greening.
    Mr Julian Smith MP
    House of Commons, LONDON, SW1A 0AA.




    [Don't forget to put your own address
    at the top of the letter]

    The Right Hon. Justine Greening MP
    Secretary of State for International Development
    House of Commons
    SW1A 0AA

    3rd March 2013
    [Don’t forget to date your letter]

    Dear Secretary of State

    Re Trade Justice

    In his speech at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, our Prime Minister, as current President of G8, set out his agenda for the G8 summit meeting in Northern Ireland in the summer. He stated that he wants to push for more openness on trade, and pointed out that “in the European Union we’re about to embark on our biggest ever programme of free trade agreement negotiations”.

    We must surely approach free trade agreements with great caution. We need trade justice, not free trade. Trade agreements must protect and support vulnerable producers and new industries in poor countries. They must be biased in favour of poor countries, so that they have a better chance of using trade as a way out of their poverty. Rich countries make huge fortunes through international trade.  Poor countries must have and need a just share of this. I am aware that these are complicated issues, but free trade must never be used to the disadvantage of poorer countries; that would be most unjust.

    In preparation for the G8 summit, as Secretary of State for International Development please impress upon the Prime Minister that all trade agreements must respect and protect the needs of poor countries. Poor countries will be become even poorer, if this is not done.

    With thanks and good wishes for your ministerial responsibilities.

    Yours sincerely



    Revd Mgr Anthony B Boylan
    [Make sure that your name is clearly readable]

    Cc: Mr Julian Smith MP (Skipton and Ripon)

    Download these notes and sample letter as a Word document



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