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Volume 405: debated on Tuesday 13 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what plans she has to continue to support the DfID in its efforts to get wider recognition and acceptance of Fairtrade goods; and if she will make a statement. [109006]

I strongly support the aims of the Fairtrade movement and welcome the fact that fairly traded products are a growing part of the UK market. I am increasingly concerned by the low prices received by commodity farmers and have set up an Industry/Government Working Party to look at ways of securing improved livelihoods for commodity producers in developing countries. I believe that Fairtrade is a small but important part of the answer to the problems experienced by these commodity workers.The Government, through the Department for International Development have provided £0.5 million over the last two years to the Fairtrade Foundation to help with its marketing campaigns.I have also ensured that Fairtrade tea and coffee is available throughout the DTI and I have encouraged other cabinet colleagues to do the same. My hon. Friend the Minister for E-Commerce and Competitiveness, held a meeting with business leaders in November to look at further ways of mainstreaming Fairtrade as part of an ongoing dialogue on this important issue.