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Friday, 04 July 2008

Canary Islands rejects proposal to reduce banana tariffs

The Counsellor of Agriculture from Canary Is., Pilar Merino, rejected a reduction of the tariffs applied to bananas imported from Latin American (LATAM) countries. There are some proposals to reduce the current tariff from 176 to 126 Euros per ton (50 Euros lower per ton). According to Merino, the Commission will present a proposal to the Committee 133 which strongly harms the European production. The Commission is looking at many alternatives in order to answer the requirements of the WTO and demanding countries from LATAM. According to the Association of European Banana Growers, the Commission will feature two options: the first supposes a reduction of 35 € per ton during the first year to correspond with a possible agreement at the Doha Round and later reductions over a period of three to six years to arrive to a level of 115 € per ton. The second option would be to reduce the tariff by 35 € per ton in 2009 and during the next six to eight years arrive at a tariff of 120 € per ton with or without Doha agreements. Canary Island representatives of growers do not want any substantial reduction, but a transitional period of eight years at least before implementing a reduction. They added that the Commission proposal goes against petitions of EU producers (Spain, France and Portugal) and ACP countries, which are all exempt of tariffs.
Source: Fresh Plaza