Where Do Craftspeople Fit into International Trade Agendas?

Economics, Employment/ Livelihood, Markets, Marketing, Trade, Sustainability, Sustainable Devt.

Where Do Craftspeople Fit into International Trade Agendas?

Jongeward, Carolyn

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World leaders clash over international trade rules and regulations during the latest round of World Trade Organization trade talks. Policy analysts debate the pros and cons of trade and aid as means for less developed countries to find ways out of poverty. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly a factor in social marketing and investment strategies. In 2005, “31 million people from 84 national coalitions around the world” took part in a global campaign to Make Poverty History, calling for “governments of the richest countries to make the political decisions that deliver justice for the world’s poorest people” (Http/www.makepovertyhistory.org). How do the worlds’ craftspeople fit into this picture?

Millions of artisans work skillfully with wood, clay, fibre, metals and other materials creating a vast array of beautiful and functional handmade items. They add finishing touches, display, and when possible, sell the products of their labour. Much of this work goes unrecognized or unaccounted for in international trade statistics. However, there are encouraging signs. The International Trade Centre (ITC) in Geneva, over many years, led negotiations that resulted in a harmonized system for codification of crafts. This system not only facilitates the collection and analysis of craft trade data, but also helps “measure the impact of crafts, and demonstrate their important role in economic development and world trade” (Caroline Ramsay, Crafts News Magazine, Summer 2000). Many go...
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