Fair Trade – letter to my MEPs

“…I am writing to seven of my elected representatives in the European Parliament about the implications of EU procurement law with respect to Fair Trade. I really need your help to fix a problem with EU law.

Recently the UK Government consulted on proposed procurement rules including “At least 50% of tea and coffee is certified to be fairly traded.”[1] The public wanted the Government to go much further than 50%:

“The majority of those who responded on this criterion felt it was not ambitious enough and should be either increased to 100% for tea and coffee or that other products such as bananas and cocoa should be included.”[1]

But EU procurement law stops the UK public sector from going 100% Fair Trade:

“We are keeping this criterion as it stands as there is significant cost. The 50% also allows some flexibility as EU public procurement laws make it impossible to specify fairly traded produce and other methods need to be used.”[1]

EU procurement law is presumably designed to stop discrimination against certain types of suppliers but in this case discrimination in favour of Fair Trade suppliers is exactly what is needed.

I feel very angry about this law and the implications it has for Fair Trade. Please could you each let me know what can be done to get this changed and what you personally will be willing to do to fix this. I know that some MEPs favour leaving the EU but this is unlikely to happen in the short term so I would ask those MPs to try to get EU law changed to allow public bodies in member states to go 100% Fair Trade if they choose to.

[1] http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/73619/response/189076/attach/6/2011%2004%2008%20Summary%20of%20all%20response%20to%20comments%204.pdf

Yours sincerely,

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