CAMPAIGNERS DEMAND TRADE JUSTICE
Campaigners from Manchester braved the rains last
week to lobby their MPs for trade justice in developing countries.
8,000 people from across the UK came together to the Houses of Parliament
to demand fairer trade rules for some of the world’s poorest people.
Gerald Kaufman faced some tough criticism from members of his constituency
who had made the journey down South to lobby him to take their demands for
trade justice to Prime Minister Tony Blair and Secretary of State for
Trade and Industry Alan Johnson, ahead of the World Trade Organisation
meeting in Hong Kong next month.
Kaufman said that he was proud of the achievements of his government in
the area of trade, but conceded that they weren’t perfect and that there
is still a long way to go.
“I think you will have to agree that I have been an active campaigner
for getting trade rules changed that govern people in the world’s
poorest countries. I have already signed the Early Day Motion and written
to Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Alan Johnson, and Hilary
Benn has a tremendous record with trade issues.
I am not for one minute claiming that our government is perfect. We still
have a long way to go, but one thing I can say is keep up the pressure. I
have never known in my 25 years as an MP, a campaign that has been so
effective in pressurising a government to change the way that things are
done. It has had a tremendous success and we as a government are
responding to that.”
from across Manchester want to see the trade rules changed that stop
farmers and producers in developing countries from selling their produce
both in country and to rich countries for a decent price. As it stands,
rich countries are able to dump their excess products on the markets of
developing countries at rock bottom prices, which local producers cannot
Worrall, Trade Campaigner for Oxfam in the North West, said that it was
incredible to see more than 8,000 people committed to the issue of trade
justice and that their presence would help to keep up the pressure on the
government to act.
commented: “It has been fantastic to see so many people from Manchester
travel to London to voice their concerns to their MP about trade justice
in some of the world’s poorest countries.
campaigning to see an end to agricultural export subsidies, which
currently mean that rich countries are able to dump their excess products
on the markets of poor countries. This has a devastating effect on local
producers and farmers because it means that they cannot afford to send
their children to school, they cannot afford to provide for their families
and it keeps them locked in poverty.
has been a fantastic year for campaigners who have relentlessly called for
changes in debt relief, aid and trade justice for people in developing
countries and with the World Trade Organisation meeting in Hong Kong next
month, this really is the last chance we have this year of making an
impact to change the lives of poor people.”
constituents of Gerald Kaufman, they had a clear message for him. Melanie
Phillips is from the Co-Operative Bank. She says that now really is the
time for action.
8,000 people alone who came to London to make their voices heard and to
demand that the government listen to what we want to see happen with trade
rules in developing countries. They have to now listen to what we are
calling for and they have to act on it.”