News just in from Jonathan Smith of Fairtrade Foundation:
The government has just pledged that millions of farmers and workers in developing countries can continue to import their produce into the UK tax-free post-Brexit. They finally have the reassurance they were desperately waiting for.
The campaign started with a 50,000-strong petition to the Prime Minister, followed by 5,000 emails to MPs and continued most recently with 38,000 Fairtrade, Traidcraft and Global Citizen supporters asking International Trade Minister Liam Fox to act fast on this issue.
And he has listened. Farmers and workers from 48 of the poorest countries around the world now know they will not face a future £1 billion import tax bill. Instead, they will be able to continue importing the produce we love into the UK duty- and quota-free. It’s a huge commitment, and it’s all down to you.
The campaign’s not over yet, though. There are poor countries not included in the announcement, such as Kenya, that need to know if they too can have improved terms of trade with the UK. And there is still the chance that new trade deals with richer countries such as China, Australia and the US could push poorer ones out. It’s crucial that open and transparent negotiations take place to make sure this doesn’t happen.
We’ll be watching developments very closely and will let you know when we need to act next.
Hats off to the Fairtrade Foundation and 50,000 of us who signed the petition. The government has pledged to protect the rights of the poorest countries in the world to keep exporting to the UK tax-free post Brexit. This applies to small-scale peanut producers in Malawi so it’s an extra big deal to Liberation. Power to the people, power to small-scale producer co-operatives and power to the peanut!