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Photograph Courtesy of East Anglian Daily Times Ipswich layout graphic David Ruffley MP
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Latest Update: Press Releases (8 October 2023)  
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Trade Justice
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I was delighted to join very many of my constituents on 28 June as part of the national “24 hours for Trade Justice” lobby at St John’s Church, in Bury St Edmunds. This national campaign was organised jointly by Christian Aid and CAFOD and was open to everyone interested in trade justice.
I was delighted to receive the pledge cards which these organisations had distributed. I passed all the pledge cards I received to Baroness Amos, the International Development Secretary, so that she is made aware of local concerns. I share the main goals of the Trade Justice Movement: a fair deal for poor countries on international trade. When a billion people live on less than a dollar a day, tackling poverty must surely be one of the greatest moral challenges we face today.
David With King Edward VI School Students at the Trade Justice Lobby June 2002
I strongly believe that today’s international trade rules are unfair on poor countries. I think that rich countries should do much more to lower their trade barriers to allow poor countries to trade with us. I also believe that Western agricultural subsidies are hugely damaging to the livelihoods of people in poor countries. The USA’s recent decision to give huge subsidies to US farmers, that will clearly damage the ability of poorer countries to export their produce, is quite wrong. For the same reason I support radical reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy.
You may wish to know that I have been elected to the most senior all party (i.e. non partisan, non-party political) House of Commons Committee dealing with the IMF and the World Bank – and this has a close connection with the whole debate about how we can help developing countries. I have a commitment to tackling the injustice of high tariffs and/or subsidies being used by already rich Western countries that disadvantage the very poorest countries in the world. That is why I have had one-on-one meetings with Mr James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, and Mr Horst Kohler, Managing Director of the IMF, to lobby them on British people’s deep concerns. You may like to know that I get a massive mailbag from people of all ages about trade justice week in, week out.
Recently, Shadow Chancellor Michael Howard MP and Shadow International Development Secretary, Caroline Spelman MP, proposed the setting up of an Advocacy Fund. This would be paid for by rich countries and would enable poor countries to pay for the economic and legal expertise they need to fulfil the potential which the WTO rules offer them. This is sensible and I hope Mr Blair’s government takes up this practical and positive proposal. It will help poorer countries in their negotiations, but I do not pretend that it is anything more than a small, helpful measure. The big reform must be driven through by Western countries dropping their tariff barriers.
The Trade Justice Movement is highlighting the injustice of the present global trading system for the British public. I recognise the strength of feeling on this issue, and can assure you that I regularly raise this issue with Government Ministers and with the policy makers in Washington DC.
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