09 November 1998
EU and US head for battle over bananas
The US and the European Union (EU) are heading for a trade war over bananas.
The precipitating factor will occur this week when Washington publishes a preliminary list of European exports on which it is proposing to impose sanctions in retaliation against the EUs banana import regime.
The move follows the failure of European diplomatic efforts to persuade the US to withdraw its threat to penalise EU exports early next year if the banana regime is not changed.
The regime gives producers in the former African, Caribbean and Pacific colonies of France and UK privileged access to the EU market.
Washington wants improved access for bananas grown in Latin America.
The EU has warned the US that a threat to EU exports would risk a crisis in transatlantic relations.
The US first threatened the EU with sanctions last month saying it had failed to bring its banana regime into line with a World Trade Organisation disputes ruling that it violated world trade rules.