19 May, 2016

How Fair Trade Affects Americans

Rodney North quote on Infinite Earth Radio podcast
by Mary Linnell-Simmons, Marketing & Communications Manager

Fairtrade America interviews with Infinite Earth Radio about fair trade, free trade and how trade deals benefit or hurt Americans.

Listen Now

Infinite Earth Radio is a weekly podcast produced by Skeo, in association with the Local Government Commission, and hosted by Mike Hancox and Vernice Miller-Travis.

Each week we interview visionary leaders, dedicated government officials, savvy businesses and forward thinking individuals who are working to build smarter, more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous communities through social and economic inclusion that values the contribution of all citizens and seeks meaningful lives for everyone.

Infinite Earth Radio interviewed us on the importance of fair trade, the difference between fair trade and free trade and how Americans can change their communities at home as well as farming communities abroad. Speaking for Fairtrade America, Rodney North argues that it is in Americans' best interest to look at the treatment of farmers and workers overseas, saying "If we, as a society, turn a blind eye to the fate of struggling workers elsewhere, that ultimately doesn’t help us here. Conversely, if we do show an interest and say... you know, that just ain’t right, that’s not acceptable; well then that begins a conversation... I’m paraphrasing what Martin Luther King said about injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Interviewer Mike Hancox questioned the importance of trade agreements such as NAFTA or the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. While Fairtrade America is not connected to either, Rodney replied saying, "Trade deals are rules agreed upon by many parties. And I personally, Rodney North, would say that too often it’s shaped by money, not shaped by people. These rules are shaped by lobbyists and therefore it’s not the average person in either country who’s winning. It’s, rather, like, the party of money."

"A trade deal, theoretically, could be very good for workers on both sides of the border...one problem is who is at the table shaping those rules?"

Read more about Fairtrade America's response to the TPP here.

Other ways to listen

Check out Infinite Earth Radio on their website or iTunes.

Episode highlights:

  • 03:13 Rodney shares when he became passionate about fair trade.
  • 04:27 Rodney explains the mission of Fairtrade America.
  • 05:54 Rodney describes the World Fairtrade Challenge.
  • 09:24 Why is fair trade an important issue for working-class and lower-income Americans?
  • 10:24 How would you define “fair trade”?
  • 16:15 How do trade deals impact the environment, working-class Americans, and communities?
  • 23:03 Connecting the value of organized labor to workers overseas.
  • 27:40 Actions listeners can take to help build a more equitable and sustainable future.

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