03 February 1999
Ecuador enters banana battle

ECUADOR, the worlds largest banana exporter, has accused both the USA and European Union (EU) of ignoring its interests and using the transatlantic banana dispute for their own purpose.

The countrys ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) said both trading blocs appeared to be using the dispute to pursue trade policy agendas which have little to do with bananas.

Ecuador originally brought a complaint to the WTO about the EUs preferential treatment of bananas from certain regions.

But it has become critical of Washingtons attempt to impose trade sanctions on the EU for non-compliance with a WTO directive.

Ecuador is concerned that the USA is trying to make changes to the EU banana regime which favour Chiquita, the politically well-connected US banana multinational.

The WTO panel is expected to rule on the EUs new import arrangements by April 12.

The same panel was also asked to arbitrate on the US request for $520 million (£318m) in trade penalties against EU goods.

  • Financial Times 03/02/99 page 6