BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Saturday November 10, 2012 – Caribbean banana producing countries were yet to respond to an agreement reached at the World Trade Organization (WTO) ending an international trade dispute over bananas dating back two decades.
“This is a truly historic moment. After so many twists and turns, these complicated and politically contentious disputes can finally be put 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,” said WTO head, Pascal Lamy of the agreement that was reached on Thursday.
But regional banana producing countries have not yet commented on the impact the agreement that was reached following the European union 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 EURO 176 (One Euro = US$1.27) per tonne to EURO 114 per tonne within eight years.
A senior Caribbean banana official said it is possible that a statement would be issued later outlining the region’s position, given Caribbean countries initial opposition to the accord. The official, who is not authorities to speak to the media, could not say when and if such a statement would be forthcoming.
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 favoured 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. (CMC) Click here to receive free news bulletins via email from Caribbean360. (View sample)