Who picked my tea?

Traidcraft have been campaigning to get the big tea companies to come clean on who grows their tea.  Transparency like this is necessary if the activities of trans-national corporations are to be adequately policed.  They report their first major success: Fantastic news – we’ve just heard that Yorkshire Tea has published where they buy their... Continue Reading →

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Controlling the pension funds

The Government is proposing changes to the regulations that govern our pension schemes, to make fund managers report on how they are addressing climate change and other ethical concerns in their investment decisions.  Of course fund managers will object, they've always thought that worrying about the environment is too much trouble.  They will form a... Continue Reading →

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A reception for Trump!

Donald Trump's trade intentions are likely to be worse than TTIP and he will be visiting the UK on 13th July.  If you want to tell him what you think, there will be several opportunities to do so.  Laura, of Global Justice Now writes: We’ve a coach to London A banner making session And we’re... Continue Reading →

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The Fox guarding the henhouse – a musical interlude

https://youtu.be/cH4m3jGR1S8 More on US-UK trade negotiations here Soundtrack: 'The Fox Guarding the Henhouse' from Blue Ribbon by William Brooks CC BY_CC_SA 1.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/1.0/&gt; Cartoons: Fox-guarding-the-henhouse-1 MetFanMac fox_henhouse02 Like You've Got Something Better To Do fox+in+the+henhouse1 Community Chickens Photos: Liam_Fox_MP,_2007.jpg Mattbr CC-BY-2.0 2008-06-07 Other photos, Global Justice Now, GMTAN and Global Justice Manchester

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“A disgrace”, CETA passes 315 votes to 36

The SNP, Greens and Plaid Cymru voted against CETA in the Commons this Tuesday, but Labour failed to step up to the mark and instead opted to abstain.  Only four Labour MPs, including Blackley and Broughton MP Graham Stringer, defied the Labour whip to oppose the treaty. Alex Scrivener from Global Justice Now condemned the... Continue Reading →

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The dangers of e-commerce

Global Justice Now (GJN) have published a new briefing (pdf) on the dangers arising from the growth of e-commerce, these include: The 'toll booth' internet Up until now the internet and the World Wide Web have been, like the highways, a public utility. However, there are increasing attempts to privatise it. The report misses the... Continue Reading →

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Changes to the network

You may have noticed that things have slowed down a lot lately.  We've stopped holding regular monthly meetings, blog posts are not as regular as they were, and you've been getting emails asking you if you still want to be on the mailing list.  It seems a good time to review what's happening with the... Continue Reading →

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A member writes…

corporations have pushed governments into feathering conglomerate nests and see small businesses and the self-employed as marginalised, indeed indirectly subjugated to the advantage of the rich

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The enclosure of knowledge (2): Big Pharma

A major aim of so-called 'free' trade treaties is to enforce pharmaceutical patents and thus end access to cheap generic medicines. For many in low and medium income countries, this means ending access to medicines altogether. Even for those of us lucky enough to live in a wealthy country like the UK, it can sometimes... Continue Reading →

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Exploiting the sick

Big Pharma rips off publicly funded research and denies treatment to the sick in order to boost its profits.

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Coobana workers co-operative

A worker at Coobana banana growing co-operative in Panama shifts, on average, 150 x 30kg loads of bananas per day.  Forty percent of the workforce are women. Marcial Quintero is one such worker, but last week he was speaking in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Manchester, to help launch Chorlton's new Fair Trade Zone.  More than sixty people attended... Continue Reading →

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Trade Bill Takedown

5th and 6th February saw activists from all around the country gather in London and descend on the Department for International Trade to demand an end to Liam Fox’s Trade Bill power grab. Protesters, including members of War on Want and Global Justice Now, performed a tug of war stunt in front of the Department... Continue Reading →

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Protect Public Health

Health Poverty Action, in alliance with the Trade Justice Movement are highlighting the threat to public health arising from undemocratic trade deals in the wake of Brexit and calling on people to write to their MPs.  They identify three big issues: Privatisation: Trade deals often include provisions to progressively open public services to the private... Continue Reading →

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Time to drop EPAs

Traidcraft are campaigning to get the Government to drop European style Economic Preference Agreements (EPAs) and give our poorest trading partners a better chance to develop their economies.  EPAs are widely disliked in less developed countries (LDCs) because they are forced to open their markets to cheap European manufactured goods, which prevents them from establishing... Continue Reading →

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New Trade Charter

Another manifesto on international trade justice has just been released, this time by Parti Sosialis Malaysia. Towards a People's Charter on International Trade Agreements covers: national sovereignty; access to medicines; food security; investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS); small and medium sized businesses (SMEs); tax evasion; more favourable treatment for poorer countries (Malaysia is a middle income... Continue Reading →

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Working rights and children’s rights

The global assault on working rights and especially children's rights continues to make headlines, with this week's revelation that NHS surgeons may be operating with instruments made by child labour in unsafe working conditions. According to the Guardian: In Sialkot, Punjab, where 99% of Pakistan’s surgical instrument production is centred, illegal child labour was witnessed... Continue Reading →

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Rainforest victory! Now for the rest!

Recently we reported on a campaign to stop deforestation in cocoa growing areas of West Africa.  Now 22 major chocolate companies have promised to end their destruction of this valuable rain forest.  This is an important victory, but it is only the first step.  As things stand, cocoa traders are free to simply move their... Continue Reading →

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Strong enough to cripple a pig

The Soil Association has published a new report on threats to UK farming and food safety standards from a Trump-TIP style deal with the US, the Guardian reports.  Highlighted is the use of a crippling growth accelerator. Ractopamine, which can add three kilos of extra meat to a pig, is banned by almost every country... Continue Reading →

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Divine Trade

At a time when Trade Justice is in short supply and what little there is is under increasing threat, Divine Chocolate have decided to shout about their Fair Trade and Co-operative credentials. An ‘Owned by Cocoa Farmers’ seal on their new packaging will advertise that the company is 44% owned by the Ghanaian family  farmers... Continue Reading →

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TTIP rising from the dead?

Why would Liam Fox want the UK to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership?  Perhaps because, in many ways, it's a clone of T-TIP, the international trade treaty that was defeated by popular protest less than two years ago. TPP is likely to: Stimulate climate change and prevent governments from protecting the environment. Enable Big Pharma to... Continue Reading →

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Tanzania’s fight back

The IISD website carries a rundown on the legal measures that the Tanzanian Government has put in place to resist the power of the corporate giants.  According to IISD, these laws: raise questions on their relationship to the country’s bilateral investment treaties (BITs). Tanzania has BITs in force with 11 countries—Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany,... Continue Reading →

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How naff is NAFTA 2.0?

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) has published an analysis of the current state of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) negotiations and questioned whether withdrawal might be better than a Trump-style renegotiated agreement.  Some of the major threats they identify from NAFTA 2.0 are: the import of genetically engineered products, without... Continue Reading →

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South Korea resists US bullying

Angry farmers disrupted an open meeting held by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy in South Korea this month.  The meeting was held to present the findings of an economic feasibility study into the renegotiation of the Korean/US Free Trade Agreement (KORUS).  Despite the inquiry finding that renegotiation would have little impact on the South... Continue Reading →

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Manchester protests against toxic Trump-TIP trade talks

US-UK trade talks commenced in the UK on Monday, bringing Manchester citizens onto the streets to protest against toxic trade deals. But toxic chickens are not the only threat. Lax regulation of US agribusiness threatens to flood the UK with cheap substandard foods, endangering public health and animal welfare. The overuse of antibiotics, intensive factory... Continue Reading →

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TPP agreed (with concessions) or not?

LATEST - Fox wants UK to join TPP It seems that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal has just been agreed, without US involvement and without some of its more unpleasant provisions. Ministers of the 11 remaining TPP countries agreed the deal in principle in Vietnam, but it remains to be ratified by 9 of... Continue Reading →

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Corporate courts round-up

Tanzania is being sued over a large scale sugar cane and ethanol project which could make 1,500 people homeless and take land which is currently in a national park. Four companies are bringing the corporate court action under a Swedish-Tanzanian bi-lateral treaty after the Tanzanian Parliament rejected the AgroEco Energy project in Bagamoyo. The small... Continue Reading →

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The Trade White Paper – GMTAN’s response

This is GMTAN's response to the The British Government's White Paper on trade, Preparing for our future UK trade policy.  The White Paper can be read here. It is encouraging that the White Paper begins with the promise that trade should be both free and fair, while the five principles it outlines are sound ones. But,... Continue Reading →

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Sainsbury’s Fairtrade Protests Report

Actions took place across Manchester on Saturday, to protest against Sainsbury's dropping the Fairtrade certification from its tea.  Currently, photos are in from Oxford Road and Wilmslow Road Stores. .        

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Green electronics

Greenpeace's new report on electronics names the Dutch company Fairphone as the greenest in the business.  The non-profit, whose mobile phone is available to UK consumers through the Phone Co-op scored a B rating, ahead of its nearest rival Apple, with a B minus. The report focuses on three key areas of design and supply chain... Continue Reading →

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Arms dealers in the trade department

Half of secondees to Liam Fox's Trade Department are from arms traders, according to the Guardian.  Following revelations that over 90% of meetings that the department has with outside bodies are with giant corporations, this is further confirmation of the extent to which the department is under the influence of powerful external interests.  We have... Continue Reading →

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Those pesky puppets keep showing up

They don't know when to quit!  Following the Global Justice Now national activists meeting on the eve of the Tory Party conference, commuters outside Manchester Piccadilly railway station were treated to another puppet show.   This time, activists from Sheffield and Nottingham took part, as David Davis and Liam Fox danced at Trump's orders, while... Continue Reading →

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Conference protest report

Trade justice campaigners joined tens of thousands who protested against British Government policies at the opening of the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on Sunday. At the opening rally in Castlefield Basin, members of GMTAN and Global Justice Manchester were busy encouraging people to send post cards to the Trade Secretary demanding democratic oversight of... Continue Reading →

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Cocoa calamity

Mars, Nestlé, Mondelez and other big companies are implicated in the illegal destruction of the African rain forest.  Environmental campaigning organisation, Mighty Earth has exposed the scandal in a new report. Ivory Coast and Ghana are the largest cocoa producers.  A recent study of supposedly protected areas in Ivory Coast found almost a third of... Continue Reading →

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Animal Welfare Threat from Trump-TIP

Despite being prohibited from making any formal trade agreements, negotiations  on a US-UK trade deal are already under way and it is likely that one of the biggest threats will be to be UK food and farming standards.  Recent headlines about chlorinated chicken are merely one aspect of a vast gulf between US practices and... Continue Reading →

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Tell the government “we want a say!”

The government claims it is ‘taking back control’ of trade negotiations. But the British government was the biggest cheerleader in Europe for TTIP and CETA, the damaging mega EU trade deals with the US and Canada. Outside the EU, there are even fewer checks or balances on the British government. MPs have almost no role... Continue Reading →

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The Threat of Trump-TIP

Brexit has revealed an almost total lack of democratic control over UK trade policy. Theresa May is intent on negotiating new trade deals behind closed doors, with minimal opportunity for Parliament to examine or challenge them. One of the most important of these deals will be the one that is struck with the USA and... Continue Reading →

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What are corporate courts?

Corporate courts are a tribunals run by corporate lawyers for the benefit of giant corporations and rich investors.  They powerful companies to stop governments regulating their activities. As Nick Dearden has pointed out: Putting cigarettes in plain packaging, banning dangerous chemicals, raising the minimum wage, stopping toxic power plants being built – anything that might... Continue Reading →

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African producers condemn Sainsbury’s betrayal

Sainsbury's plan to stop selling goods that carry the widely respected Fairtrade mark has been roundly condemned by Fairtrade Africa.  The organisation has published an open letter rejecting Sainsbury's proposals as a power grab, aimed at undermining producer autonomy and transferring control to a clique of company bureaucrats.  The full text of Fairtrade Africa's letter... Continue Reading →

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URGENT: protect the internet!

Tomorrow (Thursday 5th July), the European Parliament will be voting on proposals that could directly affect this blog and others like it.  More importantly, it threatens to break the internet and is opposed opposed by such luminaries as Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia. The Directive on... Continue Reading →

URGENT ACTION – 3 days to stop CETA

This has just come through from Global Justice Now.  Please take the action. We’ve just heard that on Monday, a motion supporting the EU-Canada trade deal, CETA, will be put before parliament. CETA poses a massive threat to our public services as well as our environmental and safety standards. Like the now thankfully defeated EU-US... Continue Reading →

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