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    Fair Trade 'Will Survive' Economic Crisis



    Organic, fair trade and ethical products will keep their market, despite today's volatile, unpredictable economic climate, suggested keynote speakers at ITC's World Export Development Forum in Montreux, Switzerland, in October 2008. The market for such goods will likely take a temporary hit, but will bounce back, they predicted. In fact, the sector continues to be a good investment.

    'The market is relatively robust. Given the current downturn, there will likely be a short-term hit, but there is much more potential than its current size,' said Gareth Thomas, United Kingdom Minister of State at the Department for International Development. Thomas told the conference that United Kingdom sales of fair trade labelled goods rose 1000% in the last decade, with a 50% increase in the past quarter compared to a year earlier.

    Pascal Lamy, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), said that from the point of view of an exporter from a developing country, organic and/or fair trade, while still a small proportion of total trade, often represents opportunity. 'For banana growers in the Caribbean islands, going organic was a question of survival. They jumped to another category of the market where they were safe.'

    Lamy also urged developing countries to come together to make their voice heard with those setting requirements and rules - whether private or governmental bodies.