31 Oct 2016

Fairtrade CEO says successful FTA's need to benefit the poorest

2:23 pm on 31 October 2016

The chief executive of Fairtrade Australia and New Zealand says free trade agreements need to target the most marginalised to be truly successful.

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Photo: 123rf.com

Molly Harriss Olson was among a panel of economists, trade negotiators, and NGO leaders exploring the right combination of aid and trade to lift people out of poverty in the Pacific.

Ms Olson said trade was key to lifting the world's final 10 percent out of extreme poverty but that economic prosperity in the west had also led to extreme inequality.

"Freetrade needs to be one where the debates are in the open and in a transparent way where coming up with the solutions and that the impacts on the livelihoods of the most marginalised are the most priority," Molly Olson said.

Molly Harriss Olson worked in the sustainable development council of former United States president Bill Clinton and has experience with the North American Free Trade Agreement.

She said if Mexico sustained the same level of growth it had prior to that agreement, it would now be on par with South Korea economically.