BRUSSELS – Latin America’sbanana-producing countries will meet inlate January in Ecuador in an attempt toform a united front regarding the potentialtariff changes proposed by the EuropeanUnion, diplomatic sources said last week.The sources said the meeting wouldmost likely take place Jan. 16 or 17, inQuito or Guayaquil.The European Union is conductingbilateral negotiations with Latin Americannations as it considers a new “tariff-only”regimen.Such a system would eliminate quotascurrently restricting the entrance ofbananas to Europe.As part of the proposed change, theE.U. seeks to increase tariffs on bananasto 230 euros (approximately $306) perton, beginning in 2006. Currently, LatinAmerican banana producers pay 75 euros($100) per ton until the set quotas areexceeded, after which they pay 680 euros($900) per ton.Trade leaders from Latin America, andCosta Rica in particular, have protestedthe proposed change and argued the tariffhike is discriminatory, since it would notapply to banana-producing countries inAfrica, the Caribbean and the Pacific (TT,Dec. 3).
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