24 July 1998
US and Latin Americans urge
WTO to review banana deal

THE USA and five Latin-American banana producers will call on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to review the European Unions (EU) attempted revamp of its banana import regime.

The EU agreed to reconstitute the regime last month to comply with an earlier WTO judgement that the EUs import rules unfairly discriminated against the Latin-American industry.

But the countries that brought the original complaint claim the new system is just as discriminatory as the first. They now plan to invoke WTO rules which allow the WTO ruling panel to reconvene and pass a second judgement.

A formal request could be made at the next Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) gathering in September. Brussels has not yet decided its response to the proposal.

The new regime is due to come into force next January. It continues to favour African Caribbean and Pacific producers with duty-free access but enlarges the Latin American quota and changes the system for allocating import licences.

Meanwhile, the DSB also established dispute panels yesterday to rule on EU complaints against South Korean restrictions of dairy imports.

  • Financial Times 24/07/98 page 6