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Trade justice

Globalization has made the world economy more efficient and has created hundreds of millions of jobs, mainly, but not only, in developing countries. It generates an upward spiral of jobs and prosperity for countries that embrace the process, although the advantages will not reach everybody at the same time.
Brief on Globalization International Chamber of Commerce, 2000

"Until the lions have their historians", declares an African proverb, "tales of hunting will always glorify the hunter." The same is true of tales about international trade. For globalization enthusiasts the rapid expansion of world trade over the past two decades has been an unmitigated blessing, notably for the world's poor. Reality is more prosaic. Greater trade does offer enormous opportunities for human development. Under the right conditions it has potential for reducing poverty, narrowing inequality and overcoming economic injustice. For many of the world's poorest countries, and for millions of poor people, these conditions have yet to be created.
Human Development Report 2005 United Nations Development Programme

MAIIlisu 0001Food trade

RISC has worked on trade issues since its beginnings in 1984. In those days, the World Education Berkshire double decker bus toured Berkshire and delivered workshops on trade justice to schools and community groups. Although the details change over the years, the impact of an unfair world trading system on people in the Majority World continues. RISC has joined international campaigns to make the World Trade Organisation more accountable. RISC has published many teaching resources on trade justice, as well as organising events which give a platform to people from the Majority World and helping to make Reading a Fairtrade Town.

Since 2007 RISC has been part of the campaign against European Union (EU) trade policy. Critics argue that bilateral trade agreements, such as Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), are part of the broader Global Europe agenda to access raw materials and new markets in an increasingly competitive globalised world economy. RISC is part of the Partnership for Change project which is raising awareness of the damaging impact of EPAs which place the interests of European corporations before the development needs of some of the world's poorest countries.

Background reading

The EU Corporate Trade Agenda: The role and the interests of corporations and their lobby groups in Trade Policy-Making in the European Union Seattle to Brussels Network, 2005
Sheds light on trade policy making process in Brussels.

The Impact of the Doha Round on Kenya Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2009
Report concludes that Doha’s human development benefit to Kenya will be small, which underscores the need to accompany trade liberalisation with strong human development policies to decrease poverty and improve income distribution.

Out of time: The case for replacing the World Bank and IMF WDM, 2006
A detailed critique of the World Bank and IMF and discussion of alternative global financial institutions.

Trading Away Our Jobs: How free trade threatens employment around the world War on Want, 2008
Report analyses studies of past trade liberalisations in Africa and Latin America, as well as impact assessments for the current round of world trade talks and the new wave of bilateral EU trade deals.

World Trade Timeline RISC, 2008
Summary of main events in development of the world trading system since 1945.

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Weblinks

bilaterals.org is a portal with extensive information about resistance to free trade agreements around the world.

fightingftas.org is an online publication on the growing resistance to bilateral free trade agreements.

Our World Is Not For Sale is a network of organisations, activists and social movements worldwide fighting the current model of corporate globalisation.

War on Want campaigns for human rights and against the root causes of global poverty, inequality and injustice, including trade.

World Development Movement campaigns against globalisation and free trade rigged in favour of the rich and powerful.