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What would you grind for your cup of coffee?

Trust the Greens on fair trade

Free trade in food comes at a big price for the developing world. At the World Trade Organisation (WTO) the world's most powerful trade forces have demanded access to the markets of the less powerful.

They want to be able to buy cheaper raw materials like coffee, sugar and cocoa beans while at the same time sell more of their own products which are heavily subsidised and thus relatively cheaper on the international market. This later process is known as 'dumping.'

Liberalising markets does not feed the hungry. And specialising in export orientated products – like coffee beans – does not create sustainable economies in developing countries. These countries were right, therefore, to reject the 'deal' offered to them at the WTO meetings in Cancun and Hongkong.

The WTO must acknowledge that different rules apply for trade in food. Any fair trade agreement must respect and support the right of a country to establish the security of its food system. There is no room for dumping in this deal.

The poor have to be given access to land and natural resources. They must be encouraged to employ good food practices and local markets must be developed before the countries should even begin to consider exporting.



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