There are many definitions for fair trade, however, none of which have been accepted as a standard definition. The Fairtrade Foundation, Oxfam and Traidcraft have agreed the following common definition of fair trade: "Fair Trade is an alternative approach to conventional international trade. It is a trading partnership which aims at sustainable development for excluded and disadvantaged producers. It seeks to do this by providing better trading conditions, by raising awareness and by campaigning."
Fair trade appeared in the beginning of 1960s at the same time in Europe and in North America. But it is only since the last 15 years that it really developed. It has registered a very good growth since the end of 1990s according to the increased promotion fair trade received through media interest, and pressure group for fairer trading practices. One of the first products concerned has been and still remains the coffee. "Fair" coffee only represents 3% of world transactions. Its example is important because it allows us to understand in which context, "fair trade" has been developed. Coffee is a main commodity of North-South exchange (just after petrol/oil). Contrary to petrol prices, which have been under the control of OPEC since1973(Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the history of coffee is different. Between 1970 and 1980, coffee market was regulated by an international agreement controlling the prices, like the model of European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Since 1980, liberalization subjected the courses to important variations. It is important to notice that "fair trade" was born when European Community created the CAP to sustain the farmers' member countries.
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