On the morning of April 10, President Tsai Ing-wen met with a delegation led by Dario Soto Abril, Chief Executive Officer of Fairtrade International. During the meeting, the president stressed that the Taiwan government will continue supporting fair trade, encouraging more companies to get involved, and cultivating the emergence of more consumers with a sense of responsibility.
In remarks, President Tsai said that during her visit to El Salvador this past January she went to the municipality of Comasagua to visit the Santa Adelaida coffee cooperative, which is working to promote fair trade coffee. When she told local farmers that delegation member Legislator Yu Wan-ju (余宛如) was a promoter of fair trade, the farmers broke out into big, friendly smiles. The encounter clearly showed, she said, that the fair trade community is getting to be more and more like one big family.
President Tsai stated her belief that the fair trade system, in addition to keeping disadvantaged producers and laborers from being exploited, also enables them to play a more active role in the market and obtain more resources that they can use to improve local education and living environments. 2030 Agenda of the United Nations includes many sustainable development goals and targets that can be achieved via fair trade.
While acknowledging that fair trade may not be a panacea for all our problems, the president pointed out that it does reintroduce "society" back into "markets." It provides an opportunity for market economies to become more friendly, equal, and even transparent. Many companies, stores, and schools in Taiwan directly participate in the international fair trade system, and this is steadily increasing recognition of the FAIRTRADE Marks in Taiwan. In the future, she said, the government will continue helping to promote fair trade; it hopes to encourage more companies to get involved, and to cultivate the emergence of more consumers with a sense of responsibility.
President Tsai stressed that fair trade is both an economic model and an ethic. Taiwan is willing to continue learning about it, said the president, who expressed hope that the country can gain still further insights from the international community.
The group was accompanied to the Presidential Office by Legislator Yu Wan-ju, Chairperson of Fairtrade Taiwan, to meet with President Tsai.