6 July 2000
Brussels fails to resolve banana dispute

by FWi staff

BRUSSELS has failed to reach a compromise in the ongoing dispute with Washington over European Union imports of bananas.

The USA claims the European Commissions banana import regime unfairly favours producers in countries that are former colonies of EU member states.

Last year, the World Trade Organisation backed sanctions by Washington aimed at persuading Brussels to amend EU banana import arrangements.

Brussels submitted a proposal last October, advocating a transitional period which would replace its old tariff quota system by the beginning of 2006.

But it has proved impossible to reach a compromise with third countries despite eight months of intensive discussions, said a commission statement.

Discussions are at an impasse because a method of auctioning import licences has failed to find favour among the various parties concerned, it added.

The commission has now proposed alternative arrangements which, if accepted, would see quotas managed on a “first come, first served” basis.