Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

IATP statement on Fair Trade USA leaving Fairtrade International

By IATP   
Published December 1, 2011

As the founder of Fair Trade USA (originally Transfair USA), and the founder/owner of Peace Coffee, one of the largest 100-percent fair trade coffee companies in the U.S., the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) strongly disagrees with the recent decision of Fair Trade USA to resign from Fairtrade International at the end of this year.

The fair trade system was created as a producer-led movement to help family farmers and rural communities benefit more directly from their production and work. The system is founded on a set of internationally recognized core principles aimed at increasing the capacity and participation of stakeholders, and dedicated to transparency in criteria setting, transactions and governance. IATP  supports efforts to strengthen and broaden the fair trade movement, not dilute or undermine it as we (and the three international Fairtrade producer networks) believe Fair Trade USA’s approach has the potential to do. 

Fair Trade USA’s proposal to create its own, apparently weaker, standards and labeling policies that will, among other things, allow coffee from plantations to be labeled as “fair trade,” moves away from the movement’s fundamental principles. We are deeply concerned that Fair Trade USA’s unilateral approach will fracture the fair trade movement, and reduce the overall credibility and value of the fair trade “brand” for farmers and consumers alike. For the sake of the entire fair trade movement, we encourage Fair Trade USA to reconsider its decision.

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