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Wednesday, 06 January 2010

Caribbean banana under treat

Martinique’s banana growers have cause for concern. The European Union has signed an agreement ending the preferential tariffs they previously enjoyed. The conflict between Latin American and ACP banana producers regarding EU customs tariffs had raged for over ten years. The EU rules allowed ACP producers, and therefore Caribbean countries, to export their produce to Europe at very low tariffs. This incensed «dollar banana» growers who were obliged to pay 176 Euros per tonne of fruit. The World Trade Organisation had ruled against the measure several times. Now, as a result of the agreement the Latin American countries will pay 148 Euros a tonne, descending to 114 Euros by 2017. Forced to compete with major international banana producers who can saturate the market with their products, Caribbean producers may be driven out of business. A re-assessment of the POSEI Programme - a  programme of special measures to support agriculture in the EU’s outermost regions - is therefore scheduled to take place within the next few days.

Source: Orange News