Oxfam publishes its global Position Paper on Fair Trade

Oxfam publishes its global Position Paper on Fair Trade

Oxfam has been part of the global Fair Trade movement since its inception. Today, it still inspires many of our volunteers to champion just and sustainable trade. Together, we reach out to small-scale producers, workers, and grassroots social entrepreneurs. We partner with activists, communities, democratically governed producer organizations, mission-driven enterprises, and social movements to establish ethical trade approaches and advocate for a more just trade system.

We believe the current trade system is far from just or sustainable. It was captured by imperialistic and colonialist forces in the past and remains, even today, under the control of the powerful and the rich to a large extent. Trade justice offers an alternative approach: one that requires shared responsibility according to everyone’s capabilities and considers (historical) privileges, as well as systemic change in the economic, gender, climate and political realms. As long as it excludes people and future generations from its welfare-creating properties, trade cannot be considered just or sustainable.

Please find the full position paper here:

Report: Subsidies, Trade, and International Cooperation (free download)

Report: Subsidies, Trade, and International Cooperation (free download)

Dealing constructively with subsidies in global commerce is central to G20 leaders’ goal of reforming and strengthening the multilateral trading system. The growing use of distortive subsidies alters trade and investment flows, and detracts from the value of tariff bindings and other market access commitments. The four authoring institutions – IMF, OECD, World Bank Group and WTO – are examining ways to share data and coordinate analytical work agendas for assessing the cross-border effects of different forms of subsidies.

Enhancing sustainability in EU Free Trade Agreements: The case for a holistic approach

Enhancing sustainability in EU Free Trade Agreements: The case for a holistic approach

This new report produced by Institute for European Environmental Policy (IEEP) takes stock of the current status of the EU trade policy and proposes a set of recommendations for EU bilateral trade to make a positive contribution to sustainability globally. The authors of the report aim to contribute to the debate on the review of the European Commission’s 15-points action plan to implement FTA TSD Chapters. Download: here

Food and energy shortages: Are trade and investment deals the solution?

Food and energy shortages: Are trade and investment deals the solution?

The war on Ukraine, the ongoing climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic led to a meltdown of global supply chains and exposed millions of people to food shortages. Today’s hyperglobalised world is highly fragile! The war and the climate crisis also point to the need to accelerate the renewable energy transition by breaking free from fossil fuels.

What is the role of trade policy in this context? Is signing new trade and investment agreements part of the solution? Or can it make things worse?

Round table discussion, 27 April 2022, 16.00–18.00 CET. Watch live here

Seminar: Mexico’s transition from ag biotech to agroecology and challenges from U.S. trade policy

Seminar: Mexico’s transition from ag biotech to agroecology and challenges from U.S. trade policy

The Mexican government plans to eliminate the use of glyphosate and imports of GMO corn and cotton by 2024 as part of its broader program for food self-sufficiency. U.S. agribusinesses are pushing back, falsely asserting that the new rules violate provisions in USMCA.

This assertion of national sovereignty could enhance biodiversity and human health. Depending on how it is implemented, it could also be an important step in a transition to agroecology. Agroecology encourages systems of food production that look at production, processing, distribution and consumption and consider environmental, socioeconomic, cultural and political contexts. Fundamental to principles of agroecology is respect for basic human rights and the importance of respect for the agency of people.

What does the Mexican experience tell us about how public policy and citizen action can support a transition to agroecology? What policy space is needed to enable those changes, whether in Mexico or the U.S.?

Organized by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and Asociación Nacional de Empresas Comercializadoras de Productores del Campo (ANEC).

Geopolitics of Food EU Response Post 23/3 Communication

Geopolitics of Food EU Response Post 23/3 Communication

Following the EU Commission’s 23 March 2022 communication on food security and food system sustainability transition questions arising from the Ukraine war impacts,  Dr. Leonard Mizzi, Head of Unit Sustainable Food Systems & Fisheries, European Commission, will update participants on how the EU is proposing to respond, factoring in also the unfolding developments in G7 (DE Presidency) and in Multilatera Fora. Read more here

Trade and poverty: What do we know?

Trade and poverty: What do we know?

This Trade and poverty has absorbed a large body of research over the last two decades but it has failed to provide a definitive general answer to the question ‘does increased trade reduce poverty?’ This seminar provides an overview of what we know about the relationship between increases in trade and poverty, highlighting policy implications towards ‘inclusive trade’.  Institute of Development Studies, Seminar recording, 17-Mar-2022, 64min. Read more here

Webinar: Unpacking South Africa’s Road to Building Back Better, Fairer and Greener The EU’s Green New Deal and its implications for South Africa

Webinar: Unpacking South Africa’s Road to Building Back Better, Fairer and Greener The EU’s Green New Deal and its implications for South Africa

Wednesday 6 April 2022: 10:00-12:00 (GMT+2)
RSVP: Register in advance for this webinar here

The The European Green Deal (EGD) is a is a set of policy initiatives by the European Commission with the overarching aim of making Europe climate neutral by 2050. These policy initiatives aim to make all sectors of the European Union’s economy fit to contribute to the European Union reaching its climate targets by 2030 in a fair, cost-effective and competitive way. The EGD proposes several action plans and initiatives in priority areas, which include energy, land, biodiversity, clean air, sustainable foods and buildings, among others. South African exporters to the European Union will need to adapt to this change, to assure their long-term competitiveness in a changing market. This webinar will look at the EGD and its potential implications for South African trade with the European Union. The particular proposed headline initiative of the EGD in the form of a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism will be covered, while an analysis of potential opportunities to expand trade associated with “environmental goods” products will be discussed.


10:00-10:10 Welcome and introduction

  • Elize Hattingh, Sustainable Growth Researcher, Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS)

10:10-10:40 Overview of the EDG

  • EDG overview, Ariane Labat, EU Delegation to South Africa.
  • CBAM implications, Lerato Monaisa, TIPS
  • Opportunities and risks for South African exporters, Martin Cameron, Trade Advisory

10:40-11:10 Panel Discussion: EDG Trade Impacts for South Africa

  • Trudi Hartzenberg, Tralac
  • Karen Bosman, Wesgro
  • Melisizwe Tyiso, NALEDI
  • tbc – Agbiz

11:10-11:40 Open discussion (Q&A)

11:40-12:00 Wrap up

About the speakers

Ariane Labat is currently counsellor for climate action, environment and agriculture at the EU Delegation to South Africa, after four years as head of cooperation for the EU Delegation to the Kingdom of Eswatini. Ariane was previously cluster lead mitigation for the EU international negotiation team at the UNFCCC from Cancun to the Paris Agreement; she had further previous assignments as an economist working to unlock sustainable and inclusive growth opportunities in Europe, Latin America and China.

Lerato Valentia Monaisa is an Economist and works in the Sustainable Growth pillar at TIPS. She has a Bachelor of Economics (with a distinction in economics) and Bachelor of Economics Honours (with distinction) from Rhodes University. She has MPhil in Industrial Policy at the University of Johannesburg.

Trudi Hartzenberg is the Executive Director of tralac. She has a special interest in trade-relatedcapacity building. Her research areas include trade policy issues, regional integration, investment,industrial and competition policy.

Martin Cameron is a quantitative economist specialising in quantitative executive decision support modelling, economic impact analysis and engineering management decision support. He has extensive experience in international trade and energy economics.

Wandile Sihlobo is the Chief Economist of the Agricultural Business Chamber of South Africa (Agbiz) and the author of Finding Common Ground: Land, Equity, and Agriculture. Sihlobo is Senior Lecturer Extraordinary at the Department of Agricultural Economics at Stellenbosch University.

Karen Bosman works as a Strategic Research and Public Affairs Officer at Wesgro. Areas o fexperience include international trade and investment law; policy advocacy; export development and international investment promotion and facilitation; strategic communication; legislative and constitutional processes; legislative analysis; regulation of international services trade; regional economic harmonisation; commercial law and litigation. She has a Master’s Degree in International Business and Economic Law from Georgetown University.

Melisizwe Tyiso works as a Researcher at the National Labour and Economic Institute (NALEDI).

About the facilitator

Elize Hattingh is a Sustainable Growth researcher at TIPS. She has been actively involved in promoting the sustainable development agenda for more than 15 years.

Event Details

Date: Wednesday 6 April 2022
Time: 10h00 – 12h00 (GMT+2)
RSVP: Register in advance for this webinar here
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email with details about joining the webinar.

The Green Recovery Dialogues comprises four webinars

Next Event
6 April – Session 2: The EU’s Green New Deal and its implications for South Africa
Past Event: Launch
15 February – Session 1: South Africa’s recovery and stimulus package by global standards – Launch event of the Green Economy Tracker, see details including video of the session here
Future Events: Save the dates!
1 June – Session 3: Just transition and South Africa’s recovery and stimulus package
3 August – Session 4: Building Back Better Greener, SMME`s road to recovery

MATS Interactive Online Workshop on the 28th of March 2022

MATS Interactive Online Workshop on the 28th of March 2022

In this interactive online workshop, we discussed with project-external and internal stakeholders key results of the status-quo analyses and jointly identified key questions and issues for further analyses.

The workshop recording is available here. Below you can see the starting and ending times of each presenter

Welcome and introduction to the EU funded MATS project (B. Steiner, University of Helsinki, Finland): 02:50 – 12:20

The role of sustainability goals in trade rules (E. Idsardi, North-West University, NWU, TRADE Research Focus Area, South Africa): 12:20 – 26:00

Trends in agri-food trade (A. Rezitis, Agricultural University of Athens, AUA, Greece): 33:30 – 40:15

Links between agricultural trade, investments, environmental sustainability and human wellbeing (K. Knickel, Univ. of Helsinki, Finland): 54:30 – 1:06:10

New orientations in EU level trade policy (J. Clarke, Director International, DG Agriculture and Rural Development, European Commission): 1:21:15 – 1:35:20

Implications for further analyses in MATS (Interactive session using Menti and Klaxoon)

How can voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to poverty reduction for smallholder farmers?

How can voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to poverty reduction for smallholder farmers?

IISD’s State of Sustainability Initiatives (SSI) Review: Standards and Poverty Reduction presents how 13 widely adopted voluntary sustainability standards (VSSs) contribute to the three dimensions of poverty reduction: access to resources; opportunities and choice; and power and voice.

The findings suggest that VSS compliance can contribute to poverty alleviation through supporting better practices among farmers, enhancing producer knowledge, and fostering farmers’ capacity to grow higher-quality and more sustainable products. In turn, this can bring farmers better product prices and incomes, and increase social capital through stronger producer organizations. Importantly, key conditions need to be in place to enable smallholder farmers to access markets for VSS-compliant products.

The related recommendations include:

• Establishing a living income reference for farmers
• Supporting smallholder access to productive and sustainable land
• Improving farmers’ VSS knowledge and implementation
• Stimulating demand for sustainable products.
• Enhancing support for business and market diversification
• Improving assurance, monitoring, and learning systems
• Systematically including farmers in VSS decision making
• Adopting a gender-equality approach.

In case you want to read the full report on IISD website click here.