17 September 1997
Euro parliament to pass banana resolution

EUROPEAN agriculture commissioner Franz Fischler has warned that the World Trade Organisations ruling that elements of the EUs banana import regime contravene free-trade rules could have serious implications stretching far beyond bananas.

The European parliament in Strasbourg is expected to pass a resolution tomorrow which calls for the EU to reject WTO demands to dismantle part of their banana import regime, or for the EU to increase compensation to the Caribbean countries which are expected to suffer if the regime is dismantled.

The 20 European commissioners are thought to be split on the issue. EU member states are also divided on whether to accept the WTO demands. The US said it would insist the EU meets WTO requirements.

Mr Fischler warned that the WTO ruling could be applied to challenge other market agreements which involved tariff quotas.

He made his comments as European MPs called on him to make sure that Caribbean banana producers were properly protected by the EU. The producers could face ruin because of the ruling.

  • Financial Times 17/09/97 page 6