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Ko: Working to Build Taipei Into a Fair Trade City

Mayor Ko Wen-je unveiled the city’s initiative in promoting fair trade during a press event on June 11.

He noted that the City will actively mount campaigns among other promotional effort in the coming year to make Taiwan on par with some of the advanced countries which honor fair trade.

Ko pointed out Taiwan is only the third city in Asia to apply for international fair trade certification, following Japan’s Kumamoto City and South Korea’s Seoul.

A qualified fair trade city must meet five requirements: a) Fair trade products should be available in the city’s stores; b) Offices must use fair trade commodities; c) The media are obliged to promote the concept of fair trade; d) There are organizations in the country devoted to advocating fair trade; and e) The city council should pass fair trade-related regulations.

The mayor stressed that the true spirit of fair trade lies in the elimination of sweatshops. The majority of populace may be unaware of the fact that coffee plantation “slaves” (workers receiving unfair treatment) who are often ill-treated have never had the chance to taste what coffee is like. The establishment of a fair city is therefore a cultural movement to raise awareness on unfair trading conditions.

The mayor reckoned that education plays a key role in promoting the concept of fair trade to the masses. It will take more than a year of preparation to realize the goal of transforming Taipei into a member of fair trade cities, Ko added.