Make Trade Fair

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The Make Trade Fair logo.

Make Trade Fair is a campaign organized by Oxfam International to promote trade justice and fair trade among governments, institutions, and multinational corporations.


The campaign has focused on the elimination of several trade practices:

  • Dumping, which occurs when highly subsidized, surplus commodities from developed countries such as rice, cotton, corn, and sugar are sold at low prices and farmers from poor countries have difficulty competing. It is believed that this creates an uneven playing field where farmers in developing countries are unable to compete in the market with cheaper foreign produce and crops.[1]
  • Tariffs, where nations enforce high taxes on imported goods, restricting the sales of products from other nations.[2]
  • Unbalanced labour rights for women, who often perceive that they earn lower wages than their male counterparts.[3]
  • Stringent patent issues, that prevent the prices of medication, software, and textbooks (e.g. Gene patents, Chemical patents, and Software patents) from being lowered. Thus, such essential goods are often inaccessible to developing nations.[4]

Key events[edit]

The Big Noise[edit]

Launched in April 2002, the Big Noise is a worldwide petition that calls for governments to help end unfair trade practices. By the end of 2005, some 17.8 million signatures have been received.[5] Desmond Tutu was the honorary 1 millionth signee to the petition in 2003. Other celebrities who have lent their names to the petition include the Dalai Lama, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, and musicians Bono and Coldplay;[6] specifically Chris Martin who would, before performing on stage, draw an equal sign (mistaken by many to be a tattoo) on his hand. However, this could also be a reference to the Human Rights Campaign.

The petition was also coupled with a popular photo campaign, where celebrities were "dumped" with various crops and foodstuffs to highlight the practice of dumping, which some perceive to be unfair. Colin Firth, Thom Yorke, Jamelia, and Haile Gebrselassie were a few of the celebrities to take part in this venture.

Make Trade Fair concerts[edit]

In 2002 and 2004, special benefit concerts were held in London to promote the Make Trade Fair campaign. Proceeds from the shows went to aid Oxfam's promotional campaigns. Produced by Emily Eavis, Marianne Troup, and Lily Sobhani, performers from the 2002 "Fairplay" gig include Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland from Coldplay, Noel Gallagher, and Ms. Dynamite, while the 2004 event included Michael Stipe, Razorlight, and The Thrills.[7]

In 2008, the Make Trade Fair support CD The Cake Sale was produced; the 9 songs were performed by Lisa Hannigan, Nina Persson, Gary Lightbody, Gemma Hayes, Glen Hansard, Josh Ritter, Conor Deasy and Neil Hannon, and written by Deasy, Hansard, Emm Gryner, Paul Noonan, Ollie Cole, Damien Rice and others.[8]

WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005[edit]

The Make Trade Fair campaign was active at the WTO Ministerial Conference of 2005, held in Hong Kong, People's Republic of China. Various demonstrations and activities were held, including the handover of some 17.8 million signatures on the Big Noise petition to WTO Director General Pascal Lamy.[9]


  1. ^ "Rigged Rules - Dumping". Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  2. ^ "Rigged Rules - Market Access". Archived from the original on February 21, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  3. ^ "Rigged Rules - Labour Rights". Archived from the original on December 24, 2005. Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  4. ^ "Rigged Rules - Patents". Archived from the original on March 22, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  5. ^ "Oxfam International - Make Trade Fair". Archived from the original on January 4, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  6. ^ "Make Trade Fair - Oxfam Global Petition Hits One Million Mark". Archived from the original on January 3, 2006. Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  7. ^ "Make Trade Fair Concert 2004". Retrieved January 29, 2006.
  8. ^ "Make Trade Fair CD 2008". Archived from the original on January 21, 2008. Retrieved February 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "WTO summit photos". Archived from the original on July 6, 2009. Retrieved February 18, 2006.

External links[edit]