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The Rt. Honourable Clare Short MP Challenges International Trade Laws

Originally Published 25 February 2004

Former Secretary for International Development, Clare Short MP, is set to challenge current International Trade Laws and how they serve to make people poor and keep people poor when she visits the University of Warwick’s Centre for Caribbean Studies to deliver a public lecture on Thursday 26th February at 6pm.

Clare Short is set to discuss recent developments in the area of International Trade Laws, focusing on their impact on the Caribbean. She will also discuss broader Caribbean trade issues, WTO (World Trade Organisation) developments and trade trends.

Clare Short has been consistently outspoken on International Trade Issues and the need for change to ensure there is a level playing field, so that smaller, poorer countries can effectively trade.

While trade can be a powerful engine for poverty reduction, trade rules often mean it hurts poor people’s livelihoods. Short has been a key advocate in the struggle for fairer international trade rules, arguing that the current state of play favours the USA and the European Union (EU).

Rich countries spend $1bn every day on agricultural subsidies. The resulting surpluses are dumped on world markets, undermining the livelihoods of millions of smallholder farmers in poor countries. For example, the USA’s export and cotton subsidies, are devastating the livelihoods of West African cotton producers, and injustice at the heart of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) means that European farmers continue to get the lion’s share of payments.

Clare Short was the Secretary for International Development in the current government until May 2003 when she resigned over Britain's policy on Iraq. A notable success of Clare Short's time as Secretary was the initiative cancelling £600m of debt owed to Britain by the world's poorest countries.

A former Civil Servant at the Home Office, Short entered the House of Commons in 1983 as the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Midlands constituency of Birmingham Ladywood, which she has held since then. Clare Short is one of Labour's most senior female MPs and probably one of the most high profile. On the mainstream left of the Labour party, she is regarded as one of the most forthright and plain-speaking MPs in the Commons and her abilities have ensured her a consistent place on the frontbench.

The University of Warwick’s Centre for Caribbean Studies was established in October, 1984, and was the first Centre in the UK to recognise the significance of the Caribbean region and its historical links with the UK and beyond.

The event is free and members of the public are welcome to attend.

For more information contact: Jenny Murray, University of Warwick, Tel: 02476 574 255, Mobile: 07876 21 7740 or Professor David Dabydeen, Centre for Caribbean Studies, Tel: 02476 523 467 Mobile: 0785 551 6573

Photographers and journalists are welcome to attend the event, which runs from 6.00pm- 7.15pm, Room H051, Humanities Building, Central Campus, University of Warwick