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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

EU: Freshfel welcomes abrogation of banana import licenses

Freshfel Europe highly welcomes this week’s decision of the EU Management Committee for the Common Organization of Agricultural Markets to abolish the banana import license system. For several months, Freshfel already advocated for a repeal of the banana import licenses as this monitoring tool became redundant after the move of the import regime to a tariff only system. The monitoring licenses have been unnecessarily burdensome for operators and provided no added value for the administration.

The decision to abolish the banana import license system is expected to enter into force 1st January 2012, awaiting publication in the EU Official Journal in the coming weeks. Yearly, around 4,8 million Tons of bananas originating from third countries are imported into the EU. As bananas originating from ACP-countries (around 900.000 Tons) no longer needed import licenses since the total market liberalisation in 2008, other supplying countries (mostly Central and South America) have been until now still requested to lodge import licenses when bringing bananas in free circulation in the EU.

Philippe Binard, General Delegate of Freshfel, explains: “The banana import licenses have currently only a purely monitoring role, are administratively burdensome and costly for operators (e.g. capital requirements of 10 million EURO at EU-level and associated collateral costs). Moreover they have no added value as previous preferential quota no longer exist and reliable information on volumes of banana imports can be gathered today through existing EU databases like Eurostat. Therefore, Freshfel highly welcomes this step which will bring benefits to EU banana importers as well as national administrations.”

Source: freshplaza.com