Why it matters

We seek to change people's lives for the better. Our form of trade helps to enrich, empower and transform disadvantaged producers’ lives around the world moving them from a state of dependency to one of self-reliance.

Trade Justice is needed now more than ever. Developing countries are increasingly losing the ability to trade in a way that is sustainable for the development of their economies and best for their people.

Developing countries need nurturing to grow strong and healthy - just like humans developing from childhood to adulthood. Without an understanding of the differing needs of new and emerging economies, these economies face unfair competition from stronger more well-funded countries.

Developing countries need to be able to control their terms of trade and work for the benefit of their people. However, with increasing numbers of trade agreements being signed - both multilateral (between many countries) and bilateral (between two countries) - developing countries are regularly at an unfair disadvantage. They have less ability to fund trade research and to employ experienced negotiators to sit at the negotiating table with richer countries. This can lead to dire consequences when unequal agreements are signed due to their long-term nature and legislation surrounding trade agreements.

We believe trade has the greatest potential to lift the world’s poor out of poverty. However, to be effective it needs to be structured in a way that delivers benefits to all who are engaged in it.

Free trade versus fair trade

Free trade policies that support liberalisation, privatisation and cutting of government services have led to a downward spiral in the living standards of the people in countries which have been forced to adopt these strategies by conditions attached to IMF and World Bank loans.
Fair trade offers the poorest producers in the world an alternative to a life of grinding poverty. By providing a fair and equitable return for their labours it gives people dignity and enables them to work their own way out of poverty without resorting to aid and charity. A long-term trading relationship, based on fair trade principles, allows producers to have the confidence to invest in the future and gives hope of a better life for them, their family, community and ultimately their country

By campaigning for greater justice in the way world trade is conducted, we work to change the rules that work in favour of the rich countries of the world and against the developing countries.

In today’s globalised world, consumers have an amazing amount of ‘political muscle’. By including social and environmental considerations into purchasing consumers can influence and change the behaviour of the world's largest businesses for the better.

Join with us in making the world a better place for everyone. Learn more about how you can support Trade Aid's work, see our GET INVOLVED area.


Watch the Trade Aid video

Trade Aid's 16 minute film - "alternative trade in a conventional world" - takes an indepth look at Trade Aid, including footage and interviews from our producers, staff, customers, shop managers and more, plus a great little animation..