EU slams WTO banana ruling
Brussels , February 9, 2008
The European Commission has blasted the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) backing for a US complaint against Europe's banana import regime as 'regrettable' and 'irrevelant.'
'It is regrettable that the WTO DSU (dispute settlement understanding) mechanism is allowed to be used by a WTO member which is in no way affected by the measures challenged,' the Commission said.
According to US officials in Geneva, the global trade referee backed a US complaint that EU import duties on bananas from Latin America harmed exports from major producer nations like Ecuador, Honduras, Panama and Nicaragua.
Although the US does not export bananas to the EU itself, three of the largest producers with plantations in Latin America are US-based multinationals: Chiquita, Del Monte and Dole.
In contrast, developing countries in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group, which include many former European colonies, have been able import bananas duty-free under a quota system.
But the Commission said that the ACP market preference regime targetted by the case no longer existed, since new trade pacts with those countries took effect at the start of this year.