But the kind of renewable energy subsidies, which are being questioned here, are necessary to create a level playing field with the heavily subsidized fossil fuel industry. Fossil fuel companies enjoy considerable public support, without drawing the consequences under the international trade regime. Because of these subsidies, fossil fuel prices can be lower and corporate profits higher. Despite the positive effects of these subsidies on the environment, renewable energy subsidies remain below fossil fuel subsidies. In addition, renewable energy subsidies have been reduced by trade enforcement and their effectiveness has been compromised. While this application could improve the competitiveness of renewable energy sources, it severely penalizes renewables compared to their main competition, namely fossil fuels. Originally, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT 1994) defined the Free Trade Agreement to cover only trade in goods.  Article V of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) defines «economic integration agreement» as an agreement with a similar purpose, i.e. to promote the liberalization of services.  However, in practice, the term is now often used to refer to agreements that include not only goods, but also services and even investments.
Environmental provisions have also become increasingly common in international investment agreements, such as free trade agreements. :104 In 2004, in order to complete the certification system for fair trade products and especially to allow artisans to sell their products outside of global stores, the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO) introduced in 2004 a new label to identify fair trade organizations (unlike flo International and Fairtrade products). It is called the FTO sign and allows consumers to recognise registered fair trade organisations worldwide and aims to ensure the implementation of standards on working conditions, wages, child labour and the environment. The FTO label provides fair trade organizations (including artisanal producers) with definitional standards that inform consumers, business partners, governments and donors of current trade standards. In 2014, the fairtrade label was introduced to create new markets, first for cocoa, sugar and cotton producers.  It has the same round logo in addition to the word FAIRTRADE in black and under the program title in turquoise. According to EFTA, the defining feature of alternative trade organisations is equal partnership and the same respect – partnership between producers and importers in the developing region, shops, labelling organisations and consumers. Alternative trade «humanizes» the business process – makes the producer-consumer chain as short as possible, so that consumers become aware of the culture, identity and conditions in which producers live. All actors are committed to the principle of alternative trade, the need for representation of interests in their working relationships and the importance of awareness-raising and advocacy work.  Ten Thousand Villages, Greenheart Shop, Equal Exchange and SERRV International in the US and Equal Exchange Trading, Traidcraft, Oxfam Trading, Twin Trading and Alter Eco in Europe and Siem Fair Trade Fashion in Australia.
Fair trade helps companies of all sizes meet their sustainability and supply chain requirements. If you want to trade or market Fairtrade certified products and display your commitments to customers, you can start here. While trade rules may not distinguish between subsidies based on their social costs and social benefits, the application of trade rules should at least aim not to harm. . . .