27 January 1999
Italy urges EU retreat on bananas

ITALY has urged the European Union to give ground in the trade dispute with the USA over bananas as the threat of sanctions looms closer.

Italys foreign minister called the EUs banana regime “a distortion of trade” which should be changed.

Its intervention comes at an embarrassing time for the EU.

It is currently negotiating a deal with the USA under the auspices of Renato Ruggiero, director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

The USA is threatening a wide-ranging attack on European exports, including pigmeat, unless the EU changes its policy on the import of bananas.

The UK, which is the EUs largest exporter to the USA, would be the biggest loser if the USA imposes sanctions. Italy would be the second biggest loser.