CLICK ON THE BELOW LINKS TO BROWSE THESE VARIOUS FAIR TRADE STORES
[a portion of each Fair Trade purchase made below helps support WTCQD global health & healing efforts.]
World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day will be linking with many more Fair Trade distributors in the future. Book mark www.worldtaichiday.org and check in regularly. Do YOU know of a Fair Trade distributor who's products would fit well with World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day?
|World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day supports
Fair Trade distributors . . .
Although not all of the vendors affiliated through www.WorldTaiChiDay.org , those that are Fair Trade Certified are clearly marked with our "Fair Trade Seller" button. World T'ai Chi & Qigong Day works to support Fair Trade distributors who work to ensure a fair living wage for artisons and craftspeople in developing nations by cutting out the middlemen, and taking care to be sure the producers in developing nations are paying living wages to their workers. Often these relationships are one to one family to family relationships between Western/Northern sellers and the artison or craftsperson in the developing country.
|What is a Fair Trade Distributor?
Fair Trade means an equitable and fair partnership between marketers in North America (and other developed nations) and producers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, and other parts of the world. A fair trade partnership works to provide low-income artisans and farmers with a living wage for their work. Fair Trade Federation (FTF) criteria are:
Paying a fair wage in the local context.
Offering employees opportunities for advancement.
Providing equal employment opportunities for all people, particularly the most disadvantaged.
Engaging in environmentally sustainable practices.
Being open to public accountability.
Building long-term trade relationships.
Providing healthy and safe working conditions within the local context.
Providing financial and technical assistance to producers whenever possible.
|Why Fair Trade?
A Brief Look at Free Trade
From around the world, we hear heart-wrenching stories about mistreated and abused workers who earn meager wages. Or worse, we hear about millions of children sold into servitude or forced to work in unsafe conditions for pittance wages to contribute to their family's survival. Unfortunately, these stories are all too common in the new global economy where competitiveness and profits to stockholders are paramount, and poverty is rising. Increasing globalization, along with U.S. government support for free-trade and investment agreements, are exacerbating three intractable problems that now plague almost every nation on earth: income inequalities, job losses and environmental damage.
Around the world, production, trade and retailing of most goods and services are increasingly concentrated under the control of a small number of corporations. Economist John Cavanagh and Frederick Clairmonte have calculated that just over a quarter of the world's production comes from General Motors, Mitsubishi, Shell, Philip Morris and 200 of the other largest firms. These firms are the primary beneficiaries of the world's rapidly growing trade. As they compete with one another to capture global markets, their primary mode of reducing costs has been through cutting jobs, wages and benefits. Between 1979 and 1992, for example, the Fortune 500 largest firms in the U.S. cut 4.4 million workers from their payrolls globally to remain competitive and keep profits high.
Backed by conventional economists, large corporations have convinced most of the world's governments that they should maximize global competitiveness through freer trade. Corporate and government officials often theorize that free trade will be beneficial for workers, whose wages and benefits can rise as foreign markets expand for their goods and for consumers who can buy cheap foreign imports. Following this theory, new regional trade agreements, like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) are reducing barriers to trade and investment for firms. These free trade agreements offer firms global protection for their intellectual and property rights but there are currently no equivalent enforceable global standards to protect workers and the environment. Furthermore, as barriers to entering local markets are removed, large scale manufacturers edge small businesses and local cooperative enterprises out of the market. Local economies suffer when these firms' profits are channeled out of the country rather than being reinvested locally. According to World Bank figures, roughly half of the new foreign direct investment by global corporations in the South in 1992 quickly left those countries as profits.
As a result of these trends, the gap between the rich and the poor has increased dramatically in recent decades. Today, the richest 20% of the world's population has 60 times the income of the poorest 20%. The benefits of trade are similarly concentrated among the wealthiest segments of the world's population and only a handful of developing countries. For example, of the $102 billion in private investment that went to developing countries between 1970 and 1992, 72% went to only 10 countries. Most of those ten were the emerging markets such as China, Hong Kong Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Even in many countries that are currently experiencing high growth rates from expanded trade, the benefits of growth are not trickling down to the poor.
Another problem is that the bulk of exports from developing countries tends to be in primary product commodities, such as sugar, cocoa, coffee, etc., whose prices generally rise much more slowly than the prices of manufactured goods imports. This "terms of trade" decline was particularly sharp between 1985 and 1993 when the real prices of primary commodities fell 30%. This translates into losses of billions of dollars. Free trade agreements do little to enhance the trading positions and commodity prices of these poor countries. In many cases, the world market price for commodities such as coffee and cocoa falls below the cost of production, forcing farmers to sustain huge losses. Fair Trade organizations offer a crucial alternative by paying farmers a price that always covers at least production costs.
FAIR TRADE HAS NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT. The business generated by Fair Trade Organizations in Europe and the U.S. now accounts for an estimated US$400 million, just .01 % of all global trade. Small as it may be, the rapidly growing alternative or fair trade movement is setting standards that could redefine world trade to include more social and environmental considerations. Fair traders believe that their system of trade, based on respect for workers' rights and the environment, if adopted by the big players in the global economy, can play a big part in reversing the growing inequities and environmental degradation that have accompanied the growth in world trade.
Hilary French, author of Costly Tradeoffs: Reconciling Trade and the Environment, reflects the views of many Fair Trade Organizations: "Trade is neither inherently good nor bad. But how it is conducted is a matter of great concern-and an unprecedented opportunity. Trade can either contribute to the process of sustainable development or undermine it. Given the rapidly accelerating destruction of the earth's natural resource base, there is no question what the choice must be."
For Fair Trade Organizations, the choice is simple. Whether trade is good for producers and consumers depends entirely on how the goods are made and how they are sold.
Fair Trade brings the benefits of trade into the hands of communities that need it most. It sets new social and environmental standards for international companies and demonstrates that trade can indeed be a vehicle for sustainable development. Today, a growing movement of workers, environmentalists, consumers, farmers and social movements worldwide is calling for a different framework for trade. They want a global trading system that promotes workers' rights, protects the environment and sustains the ability of local producers to meet community needs. Together, as consumers, they can make a huge difference by demanding significant changes in the ways goods are produced, and vote with their dollars for a more just and environmentally sound trading system.
Your ONE victory for Africa: G8 doubles aid!
Dear Friends [including the many World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Supporters who signed the G8 petition and spread it to their friends]:
[ "http://www.one.org/ ]
This is a big thank you to all 1.5 million of you who joined together as ONE to do something extraordinary.
From the 500,000 letters you sent to President Bush to Live 8 in Philadelphia to the G8 Summit in Gleneagles, you called on eight men to do more to fight global AIDS and extreme poverty, and they heard your call.In Scotland this past Friday, overcoming the shadow of a tragic day in London, President Bush joined G8 leaders in an unprecedented deal to cancel debts and double aid to Africa [ http://www.one.org/ ] .
For African nations fighting poverty and corruption, this means a $25 billion increase in aid and wiping out 100% of their debts.With this funding, Africa can halve deaths from malaria, put millions of children into school, and 10 million people across the world will haveaccess to lifesaving AIDS drugs.Behind each of these numbers is one person, one life that will be changed forever.
For the first time ever, everyday Americans like you joined together to take a seat at the negotiating table, asking the world's most powerful leaders to do more to help the world's poorest people. Because you signed the ONE Declaration, wore thewhite band [ http://store.one.org ] and forwarded emails to friends about ONE, you made a huge step toward making poverty history. We've come so far and still have far to go.
Keep the momentum going, email 3 friends about ONE today
[ http://www.one.org ] .
This agreement is a real victory for Africa - but promises made of words will only become promises for a generation if we keep watching, asking and acting.Much more needs to be done in Washington DC to turn these commitments into lifesaving programs, and the world must take new steps to make trade fair.More meetings will take place this year in New York and Hong Kong where a comprehensive debt-aid-trade deal can be reached and end global AIDS and extreme poverty in our time.
We can be that great generation. As ONE, let's keep up the positive pressure and make 2005 the year we joined together to make history.
The ONE Team
P.S.You can learn more about the details of the G8 deal by checking out the ONE.ORGG8 page [ http://www.one.org/g8countdown.html ] .
GIFTS WITH HUMANITY (below) IS TEMPORARILY UNDER CONSTRUCTION, PLEASE PATRONIZE THE ABOVE STORES. "Highly recommended
by WTCQD !"
-- Bill Douglas, WTCQD
African Art-> (21)
Christmas Items (3)
Decorative Wood (2)
Functional Wood (4)
Gift Items (8)
Glass Items (7)
Greeting Cards (10)
Handmade Soaps (3)
International Music (13)
Metal Art (7)
Purses & Bags (6)
Toys & Models (8)
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day . . . One World . . . One Breath