International Trade and Aid

A 15 Year Old Haitian girl shot dead by Haitian police after the earthquake for stealing paintings


A 15-year-old girl shot dead by Haitian police after the earthquake for stealing paintings ; Photograph: Carlos Garcia Rawlins/Reuters


Unfair trade and unfair conditions on aid kill just as surely through starvation, diseases caused by lack of clean water and lack of medical treatment


Fair trade not ‘free trade'


We need fair trade rather than free trade so that we gradually level up third world living standards instead of levelling down our own wages and employment levels to third world ones.


Completely ‘Free trade’ harms the majority in all countries to benefit a handful. Forcing third world countries to open up their markets to imports from companies based here and allowing unrestricted imports from third world countries where these companies have relocated most of their production (and increasingly services) to will benefit only the heads of the multinational companies and their shareholders at the expense of the majority in all countries. Support the World Development Movement’s ‘Fair Trade not Free Trade’ campaign – www.wdm.org.uk


We live in a world in which millions starve to death every year to profit the wealthiest, in which many are reduced to slow starvation and watching their children starve and die in front of their eyes. In Haiti unfair trade deals imposed by the US and EU result in people buying 'mud cakes' of mud with salt mixed into it in order to try to fill their own and their children's stomachs, because they can't afford to buy food. The average person in much of the world struggles to survive on under $2 a day (under £1 and 31 pence a day).


 


End foreign aid, arms sales to and trade deals with dictatorships and sweatshops


A lack of restrictions on trading with sweatshops and dictatorships results in unemployment here and exploitation there. Trade sanctions on and a ban on arms sales to any country whose government is not democratically elected and which tortures, jails without fair trial and kills its people. Make EU trade deals with them conditional on allowing opposition parties and fair elections, freeing dissidents and allowing independent trade unions and a decent minimum wage. Trading with these countries makes British people unemployed as companies move to them for cheap labour. End arms sales to Israel until settlements, sieges and occupations are ended.


End Tied Aid


While the government claims to have end 'tied aid' - aid made conditional on it being spent on buying products or contracts or services from companies based in the donor country - the reality is that it continues. For instance 40% of all aid to Afghanistan from NATO countries has gone to consultants or companies based in the donor government's country. The average consultant is paid £500,000 a year.


 


Deliver the Promised Aid


Governments in the "developed" world continually pledge aid and then fail to deliver nearly as much as they pledged. For instance in Afghanistan between 2001 and March 2008 foreign governments pledged $25 billion in aid - but delivered only $10 billion.


 


Stop attaching conditions to aid that hurt the poorest


Stop making aid conditional on privatisation, cuts in benefits and ending subsidies on the prices of basic essentials like fuel and food. Aid should benefit the poorest, not punish them. The worst offenders here are the IFIs (International Financial Institutiorns) - the IMF and World Bank, but the US and EU are also riding rough-shod over the needs of the poorest in the poorest countries in order to benefit the wealthiest people in the world and big companies.