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Point de vue. La reconnaissance du commerce équitable en droit français : une victoire pour la société civile internationale ?


  • Walid Abdelgawad


For the first time France has enacted a package of legal measures to recognize fair trade movement and became one of the first developed countries having a detailed regulation in that field. This package consists of both legislatives measures (article 60 of the small and medium sized enterprises Act and its executive order) and soft law rules (agreement on Fair trade of the French standardization association “AFNOR”). The choice of the legislator focused on the public recognition by a national commission of the organizations whose main activity is the implementation and the monitoring of fair trade standards. Multinationals were kept out of this procedure. The French law seems to meet the requirements of fair trade organizations especially regarding the definition of the standards of fair trade as inferred from the practice. The various dimensions of fair trade (economic, social, environmental and political) have been taken into account. This positive outcome seems to be the result of the mobilization of civil society players in order to urge French public authorities to implement the standards and rules established from the practice. However, French regulation is, on some aspects, insufficient and irrelevant as it is out of step with the recent practice of the private actors. On the one hand, it subscribes to a restrictive view of fair trade as limited to the only North-South international trade. On the other hand, there is no clear recognition of the link between fair trade and social economy. Lastly, there is no guarantee that the legal procedure concerning the accreditation of faire trade players will offer an effective protection of consumers. Despite this criticism, French law was saluted as a successful step as it has the main advantage of preserving fundamental fair trade principles and standards and thus safeguarding the assets of forty years of struggle on the ground by the international civil society.

Suggested Citation

  • Walid Abdelgawad, 2007. "Point de vue. La reconnaissance du commerce équitable en droit français : une victoire pour la société civile internationale ?," Revue internationale de droit économique, De Boeck Université, vol. 0(4), pages 471-491.
  • Handle: RePEc:cai:riddbu:ride_214_0471

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