11 July 2000
Brussels blames ministers over bananas

EUROPEAN foreign ministers have “failed to provide whole-hearted support” for a bid by Brussels to resolve the dispute over EU banana imports, it is reported.

Ministers backed a European Commission plan to seek an global agreement for EU banana import quotas to be based on a first-come first-served basis.

But they have refused to agree to a request by the European Commission for an automatic mandate that would permit talks on a tariff-only solution.

Brussels had asked for such talks should a quota system fail to win the support of trading partners by October, reports the Financial Times.

The paper says the stance of foreign ministers could further delay the dispute which American countries believe should have been resolved nine months ago.