01 July 1998
Caricom leaders concerned about banana changes

LEADERS of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) are worried about the European Unions (EU) proposed changes to its the banana import regime.

The leaders of the 15-member community will press Brussels to adopt less radical alterations. There are fears that trade in the Windward Islands, Belize, Jamaica and Suriname would be hurt by the current proposals.

The EU is planning to scrap its system of licensing imports which the USA and some Latin American exporters claim discriminates in favour of Caribbean growers.

Caribbean leaders are concerned that the EU will merely boost aid to the region as an answer to the problem. But the region needs trade instead of aid, according to delegates.

Some Governments are unhappy about the perceived US role in influencing the shape of a new EU banana import regime.

Caricom leaders will use their annual summit in September, in St Lucia, to prepare for the start of negotiations between the African, Caribbean and Pacific members, and the EU, for a trade pact to succeed the Lomé convention, which expires in 2000.

  • Financial Times 01/07/98 page 10