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Date: Wed, 10 Sep 97 09:31:26 CDT
From: MichaelP <>
Subject: WTO and Banana trade

No welfare for Carribean banana growers

By Michael P., London Times, 9 September 1997

They don't deserve propping up in the global economy 'cos Chiqita does it better. Caribbean states hit by banana trade feud

THE European Union is struggling to find a way of shoring up the economies of the Windward Islands and other Caribbean banana-growing states after the World Trade Organisation upheld American complaints that Europe gave them unfair access to its market.

The decision by a WTO appeal panel, to be confirmed this month, has brought to a climax the US-EU feud over a protected banana trade that is the lifeblood of former British colonies such as St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica and Grenada.

The United States Government, under pressure from big American-owned export companies, challenged the EU "banana regime", which grants special import quotas and tariffs to fruit from certain nations in the Caribbean and Africa, mostly former British and French colonies.

The small states, which depend on banana exports for up to 70 per cent of their income, say they cannot compete with the low-cost Latin American product mainly exported by American companies. The Caribbean accounts for 15 per cent of the EU banana market, and the industry brings in more than 200 million a year to the region. Eastern Caribbean leaders have told President Clinton that their economies face collapse if their European market is cut off, which could endanger democracy and increase the drug trade.

Copyright 1997 The Times Newspapers Limited. To inquire about rights to reproduce material from The Times, please visit the Syndication website