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Wednesday, 02 December 2009

New banana trade deal in the making

It is probable that at some time in the next two weeks, Europe will announce that a final deal on bananas has been achieved. In so doing, it will bring to a close the trade war that it has been fighting with Latin producers and the United States since 1993. If documents now circulating in Brussels represent the outcome, the final solution will not be much to the Caribbean's liking. On agreeing a deal, Europe will reduce its banana tariff from €176 to €148/t. Then, over a period of seven years, the tariff will fall to €114/t for all non-preferential imports of bananas into Europe. In exchange, Latin American producers will agree to drop their complaints against the EU at the World Trade Organisation. As with most matters of this kind, the final outcome is not yet guaranteed. There are still sensitive exchanges under way on a small number of issues requiring resolution. ACP producers have yet to agree on the level of compensation proposed. The European Commission has offered €190 million to €200 million over four years to support economic restructuring, compared with the ACP's most recent counterproposal of €250 million. For its part, the US has to agree legal aspects of the agreement.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner