21 April 1998
Banana deal expected in June

EUROPEAN UNION (EU) farm ministers are expected to reach agreement in June on banana import regime reforms to comply with World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules.

EU member countries yesterday signalled broad support, despite objections from the United States and reservations among the likes of France and Germany. Details are still to be finalised.

The WTO upheld North and South American complaints last September that the EUs preferential treatment of bananas from African countries discriminated against Latin American exporters. It gave the EU until January to comply with its ruling.

The European Commission proposes to maintain the banana quota available to Latin American countries at 2.2 million tonnes at a tariff of Ecu75/ t ($81.75/ t) It would establish a further quota of 353,000 tonnes at a duty of Ecu300/ t to take EU enlargement into consideration. The current import licensing system would be abolished and replaced with one considered more to the WTOs liking.

  • Financial Times 21/04/98 page 7