Banana war no more

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has ended an international trade dispute over bananas dating back two decades.

WTO head Pascal Lamy commenting on the agreement said, “this is a truly historic moment. After so many twists and turns, these complicated and politically contentious disputes can finally be out to bed. It has taken so long that quite a few people who worked on the cases, both in the Secretariat and in member governments, have retired long ago.”

But Caribbean banana-producing countries have not yet commented on the impact of the agreement that was reached following the European Union (EU) agreeing in December 2009 to gradually reduce the tariffs on Latin American bananas.

The December 2009 agreement involved the EU reducing its tariffs on imported bananas from eruo 176 (One Euro=US$1.27) per ton to euro 114 per ton within eight years.

Officials say that it is possible that a statement would be issued later outlining the region’s position, given Caribbean countries’ initial opposition to the accord.

Latin American banana exporters had long protested against EU tariffs designed to protect small growers in former European colonies in Africa and the Caribbean. They claimed that the EU import tariffs had favored imports from former European colonies.

The Latin American countries present at the signing were Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Venezuela and Peru.