12 November 1998
Santer pleads to Clinton over banana battle

JACQUES SANTER, the European Commission president, has stepped into the escalating trade battle over bananas between Europe and the USA with a personal plea to President Bill Clinton.

He says proposed US trade sanctions against European exports would be against the rules of the World Trade Organisation, in a letter to President Clinton. He also warns the President that the European Union will be filing a complaint with the WTO.

Mr Santers initiative comes after the USA said it would levy 100% duties on a broad range of products unless the European Union reformed its banana regime by 1 January.

The trade battle emanates from Europes special deal on bananas with the former colonies – “ACP” (Africa, Caribbean, Pacific) countries – of France and Britain. The World Trade Organisation said last year that this relationship was discriminatory.