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Trade Justice Movement

Volume 408: debated on Tuesday 7 October 2003

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7 pm

In recent weeks the Trade Justice Movement has been running a campaign to raise awareness of the issue of trade justice throughout the world. During the campaign Members of Parliament have been asked to participate in what has been an excellent exercise. During the week in which I was involved, I visited Wentworth high school in the city of Salford, in my constituency.

A five-hour session during which the pupils took no prisoners and asked pertinent and pointed questions developed into a dialogue about how young people could take part in the political process. As part of their campaign for trade justice, the pupils at Wentworth high school have asked me to present a petition signed by 586 people.

The petition of the pupils, teachers and helpers of Wentworth High School declares our concerns about unjust rules that are weighted towards the benefit of rich countries. We would like to see changes made to the trade rules such that instead of "free trade" which keeps countries poor, that we have "trade justice" meaning that rules will benefit the poor people of the planet.

We request the House of Commons to urge the Government to raise our concerns at the World Trade Organisation Ministerial meeting which will take place this September in Mexico and we would request that our concerns are raised with the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry before this meeting.

As supporters of the Trade Justice Movement which is campaigning for trade justice and not "free trade" we believe that the world leaders should use this vote to:— Stop forcing poor countries to open their markets and champion their right to manage their own economies. Regulate big business and their investments to ensure people and the environment come before profits.

Stop rich countries promoting the interest of big business through trade interventions that harm the poor and the environment.

Ensure trade policy is made in a fair, transparent and democratic way.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.

To lie upon the Table.