February 8, 2008

WTO ruled on EU's banana import regime

The World Trade Organisation has ruled in favour of a complaint by the United States against the European Union's banana import regime. The United States had argued that EU import duties of 176 euros (255 dollars) a tonne imposed on banana imports from Latin America harmed exports from major producer nations like Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua. Although the United States does not export bananas to the EU itself, three of the largest producers with plantations in Latin America are US-based multinationals: Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole.

In contrast, developing countries in the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, which include many former European colonies, can import bananas under a quota system that permits 775,000 tonnes of duty-free imports per year. The WTO's Dispute Settlement Body already ruled last November in a similar case brought by Ecuador. Latin America accounts for four-fifths of EU banana imports, with ACP countries making up the rest.

No comments: