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The term fair trade may refer to a principle in international trade since the 1950s as well as to an episode in the history of anti–chain store legislation in the United States. This entry will only deal with fair trade in the first meaning, which is the better-known meaning of the term. The general idea of the fair trade principle in international business is that—in view of their weak negotiation position—poor producers in countries of the third world should be protected against the harsh consequences of the unfettered market.

The actual practice of fair trade in this sense has so far predominantly been organized around certain products and their supply chains. Thus, coffee, cacao, sugar, and bananas have traditionally been the subject of fair trade efforts. ...

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