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Monday, March 10, 2003

As part of the UK's Comic Relief week the BBC has broadcast a special edition of their Panorama TV show which investigates how unfair trade harms development in poor countries.

Some of the tactics that rich countries use to protect their farmers from cheaper overseas producers include charging imports high taxes (tariffs), preventing imports such as catfish being called the same name as local produce, flooding overseas markets with subsidised exports, requiring higher hygiene standards than third world producers can meet, subsiding farmers in rich countries + manipulating world markets (so that there is constant over-production) in ways that ensure low prices for consumers but also result in low incomes for farmers in poor countries.

The programme uses the following examples to highlight how the world's fixed + distorted trade system has affected different industries + countries:

* Vietnamese Catfish
* Haitian Rice
* Ghanaian Tomatoes
* Kenyan Sugar Cane
* Guatemalan Coffee

These examples draw heavily on Oxfam's "Make Trade Fair" campaign as well as the related work of Christian Aid + Action Aid...