(12/13/05)
In the Public Eye

Fair Trade Petition Presented to the EU
Brussels, December 5, 2005

Watch video of the petition handover here or listen to the audio of the press briefing here

Actor Colin Firth has urged European Commissioner Peter Mandelson to deliver a trade deal to help the world's developing nations.

Firth was in Brussels to present a ten million signature "Big Noise" petition calling for fairer world trade rules to be agreed at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) talks starting in Hong Kong next week.

The "Big Noise" -  Oxfam's global public petition - demands that political leaders drastically re-shape current global trade rules to give the developing world more chance to beat poverty.

The EU's protectionist farm regime has been attacked as one of the major obstacles to a fair world trade regime.

Trade Commissioner Mr Mandelson's offers of concessions on agriculture subsidies and tariffs have been criticised as doing too little. Now Oxfam has stepped up its campaign using the star - known to many as Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, but also renowned for roles in films including Bridget Jones's Diary and Love Actually.

Firth said: "I feel honoured to act as a voice on behalf of the 10 million people who have signed the Big Noise petition to Make Trade Fair.



"People have added their names from around the world, including farmers in Zambia, garment workers in Bangladesh and concert-goers in Europe and America - it is a unifying plea. We offer this as a counter to the corporate voices of opportunism - this is a mandate to Mr Mandelson and all WTO delegates to make trade rules work for the poor."

Mr Mandelson said his job was to find a balance between the trade interests of all concerned in the WTO negotiations. "I welcome this petition and I urge people to keep giving us their views on this. Our job is put trade at the service of development," he said.

The "Big Noise" petition is being presented to political leaders around the world in the run-up to the Hong Kong talks.   (Press Association)










 
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