EU, Central America no longer split over bananas

December 11, 2009

The European Union agreed to reduce tariffs on banana imports on Tuesday, ending one of the world´s longest-standing trade disputes.

Under the agreement, import taxes will drop from €176 per ton to €114 per ton for bananas coming from Latin America by 2017, allowing producers here to compete with fruit imported from Africa and the Pacific.

“Today is a very good day for banana producers worldwide and for consumers, as we finally see the ´longest trade dispute in history´ solved,” said European Trade Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner in a statement. “After years of tedious negotiations, the deal reached will provide an important push for … the multilateral trading systems in general.”

The agreement ends a 15-year dispute in which the EU has faced accusations that it favors its former colonies in Africa over Latin America. Costa Rica, which currently supplies about 18 percent of Europe´s banana imports, has directed the effort to reduce the tariff from Latin America through the Tropical Products Group.

Europe currently imports more than 4.8 million tons of bananas – 3.8 million from Latin America – and produces only 10 percent of its consumption itself (see Box). The largest Latin American supplier is Ecuador, followed by Colombia and Costa Rica.

“This result is very satisfying because we´ve achieved the goals we sought in July 2008 which were denied,” said Marco Vinicio Ruiz, Costa Rica´s foreign trade minister. “For this government, the result … concludes the banana controversy with the European Union with a positive result and in a defined manner, benefiting one of the agricultural sectors that creates the most employment.”

In return for the reduced tariffs, Latin American countries agreed not to ask for further cuts to tariffs and to drop existing cases against the EU involving producers. The United States has also agreed to settle its World Trade Organization dispute over bananas with the EU.

African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP) will still be able to sell bananas duty-free to EU member states under a separate agreement. Furthermore, the European Union plans to offer close to €200 million to these countries to help them compete.

Facebook Comments

You may be interested

Cases of microcephaly quadruple in Costa Rica due to Zika
Costa Rica
66 views
Costa Rica
66 views

Cases of microcephaly quadruple in Costa Rica due to Zika

Monserrat Cordero Parra / Semanario Universidad - May 23, 2019

Health authorities reported Wednesday that the births of children with microcephaly in Costa Rica have quadrupled since the appearance of…

TBT: When LACSA flew the colors of Costa Rica across the Americas
Throwback Thursday
56 views
Throwback Thursday
56 views

TBT: When LACSA flew the colors of Costa Rica across the Americas

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 23, 2019

LACSA, or Lineas Aéreas Costarricenses S.A., once flew the colors of Costa Rica throughout North, Central and South America. Founded…

No Navas as Costa Rica names roster for Peru friendly
La Sele
20 views
La Sele
20 views

No Navas as Costa Rica names roster for Peru friendly

Alejandro Zúñiga - May 22, 2019

The Costa Rican soccer federation on Wednesday revealed its roster for an upcoming friendly against Peru. The list includes Álvaro…

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!