08 July 1998
‘Relief’ over ACP banana deal

CARIBBEAN banana exporters have reacted with relief to planned new access rules to the European market.

The arrangements give them time to restructure and diversify those economies that are dependent on preferential markets, they say.

However the regions leaders accused the USA of pushing the European Union (EU) to instigate more radical changes.

The region had feared that changes by the EU to satisfy a World Trade Organisation (WTO) ruling would damage their economies. The WTO ordered the EU to change aspects of its import regime after it upheld a complaint that the EUs banana import regime unfairly favoured Europes former colonies and discriminated against other producers such as Latin American companies.

EU ministers agreed rules last month which eliminated the licensing system that the USA said was unfair. But the EU maintained an import quota on Latin American bananas and a duty-free access quota which benefits Caribbean and other traditional exporters.

  • Financial Times 08/07/98 page 4