23 June 1998
Brussels farm ministers search for banana deal

EUROPEAN UNION (EU) farm ministers are close to resolving a deal on reforming the EUs controversial banana imports regime.

But the reforms are unlikely to meet US objections, according to the Financial Times.

Imports are governed by a regime which gives indirect price support to EU territorial producers and banana exporters in the Lomé Convention, covering African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.

Latin American countries have complained to the World Trade Organisation (WTO), saying their products are discriminated against. The WTO ruled last year that the EU regime broke world trade rules.

But the EU has rejected US demands of fundamental reform. Instead the EU is adopting the minimum number of changes necessary to make the regime WTO-compatible.

The USA believes the EUs proposed regime is “arbitrary”, discriminates against efficient non-ACP producers, and breaks WTO rules.

  • Financial Times 23/06/98 page 7