Press Notice 09, Session 2006-07

NEW INQUIRY

Fair Trade and Development

The International Development Committee is to begin an inquiry into fair trade and development. While agreement on a development round in the WTO may be the most important gain for developing countries, the inquiry will examine how effective fair trade is in reducing poverty and how donors - in particular the UK's Department for International Development (DFID) - can support fair trade in their development assistance.

Fair trade has been repeatedly recognized by European institutions and agreements as a key tool for sustainable development and poverty reduction. In 2005 the G8 noted that infrastructure and supply-side weaknesses often prevent the poorest countries from exploiting their trading opportunities. The Gleneagles communiqu© welcomed the growing market for fair trade goods and its positive effect in supporting livelihoods and committed the members to increasing public awareness of the positive role of ethical trade in development.

The Committee invites interested organisations and individuals - especially those from developing countries - to submit written evidence addressing any of the following points:

€ What has been the impact of donor funding for fair trade?

€ How best can donors help to develop fair trade consumer markets in both developed and developing countries?

€ How can aid be more effectively mobilised to help producers improve the quality of their produce in order to access fair trade markets?

€ Is there a role for donors in helping to develop the interests of producer communities in developing countries (for example, the Ethiopian coffee trademark dispute)?

€ How does the international trade system impact on ethical and fair trade production (for example, the impact of changes in the EU tariff regime for bananas on small developing country producers)?

€ Do existing government guidelines on procurement of ethical and fair trade products provide an enabling environment for the development of this market and the opportunities for producers?

€ What is the role of supermarkets, retailers and businesses in supporting ethical and fair trade production?

€ How can trade unions help to ensure that the drive for cheaper produce does not undermine social and environmental standards in developing countries?

€ In an increasingly crowded ethical marketplace how can consumers be supported to distinguish between different fair trade brands, labels and codes?

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The deadline for submitting written evidence is Friday 2 February 2007. Evidence submitted should:

- if possible, be provided electronically in MS Word or Rich Text format, either by e-mail to [email protected] or on a disk. If submitted by e-mail or e-mail attachment, a letter should also be sent validating the e-mail;

- the letterhead should contain your full postal address and contact details;

- any memorandum of more than six pages should begin with a one page summary;

- have numbered paragraphs;

- and avoid the use of colour or expensive-to-print material;

- further guidance on the submission of evidence can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/commons/selcom/witguide.htm;

Material already published elsewhere should not form the basis of a submission, but may be referred to within a memorandum, in which case a hard copy of the published work should be included. Submissions can also be sent by post to International Development Committee, House of Commons, 7 Millbank, London, SW1P 3JA.

Once submitted, evidence is the property of the Committee. The Committee normally, though not always, chooses to make public the written evidence it receives, either by printing the written evidence alongside the oral evidence or by making the evidence available through the Parliamentary Record Office. If there is any information you believe to be sensitive you should highlight it and explain what harm you believe would result from its disclosure; the Committee will take this into account in deciding whether to publish or further disclose the evidence. Please bear in mind that Committees are not able to investigate individual cases.

It would be helpful, for Data Protection purposes, if individuals wishing to submit written evidence send their contact details separately in a covering letter. You should be aware that there may be circumstances in which the House of Commons will be required to communicate information to third parties on request, in order to comply with its obligations under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

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Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Barrett MP (Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh (Lab).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589 or [email protected]

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Detailed enquiries to Dr Anna Dickson, Committee Specialist on 020 7219 2738 or [email protected]

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